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Aust Made calls for 'mandatory' country-of-origin food labelling

29 July, 2014

The Australian Made Campaign has renewed its call for mandatory country-of-origin labelling across the full range of food products, following the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) revelation that this information would remain optional on some unpackaged foods.

FSANZ was originally instructed to develop a proposal to extend country-of-origin labelling across all primary food products for retail sale as part of the Government's response to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy in 2011.

However, this week (29 July) FSANZ made public that mandatory country-of-origin labelling would not be extended to unpackaged foods not already covered by the standard, including game meats, poultry other than chicken, eggs and cheese.

Consumer confusion

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said he was disappointed that the proposal had been scrapped, arguing that extending the country-of-origin labelling requirements to all foods would have reduced consumer confusion and promoted confidence in the system. 

"Food labelling requirements should be clear, straightforward and above all consistent – all food, packaged or unpackaged, should be required to carry a country-of-origin label," Harrison said.

"Why should fresh chicken, for example, have to carry a country-of-origin label, but not duck or quail? Why should sliced ham have to carry a country-of-origin label, but not sliced cheese?"

"Consumers want to be able to buy with confidence, and a big part of this is knowing where their food comes from," Harrison said

According to Harrison, the impact on producers would be minimal, and some major retailers are already labelling these unpackaged foods voluntarily.

The Australian Made Campaign has called for mandatory country-of-origin labelling across all food products in numerous submissions, including to the current House of Representatives inquiry into food labelling.

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Russell | Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 10:50 AM
Agree entirely. As consumers we should have the right to decide what we want to purchase based on country of origin.
Peter | Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 11:02 AM
Makes little difference to me. If manufacturers don't label the country of origin I suspect the worst and don't buy it. Anything manufactured in a respected country including Australia states the origin with pride on the packaging.
Robert Watson | Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 3:38 PM
I would like food labeling to one step farther than simply country of original. We to follow suit with States in the USA with GMO food labeling, co consumers know what they are eating. As we speak, the status of labeling is reduced to "implied consent" each time one shops in a supermarket or grocer. Non-GMO foods fetch a higher price in the marketplace too.