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New country of origin labelling laws passed

09 February, 2017

Another step in delivering sweeping reforms to Australia’s country of origin labelling program was completed 8 Feb 2017 with the Coalition Government’s Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2016 passing through the Senate.

"The passage of this legislation will make it easier for businesses to determine the correct country of origin claim for their product, including when to use ‘made in’ and ‘packed-in’ claims," Senator Sinodinos said.

"It’s an issue many manufacturers have raised with us, and I am pleased we were able to address it."

"These changes complement the country of origin labelling reforms which recently began for food businesses."

With the passage of this legislation, businesses producing goods like medicines, textiles, clothing and footwear will also find the criteria for using a ‘made in’ claim clearer and simpler.

The reforms also mean businesses will no longer have to recalculate the relative shares of imported and local production to support their origin claim. This will be particularly important when input prices vary or exchange rates change.

Consumers will also welcome the changes that make it clear imported goods cannot be claimed to be made in Australia just because their form or appearance has been changed during local manufacturing.

These reforms greatly enhance the effectiveness of a new Information Standard for country of origin labelling for food that commenced on 1 July 2016.

The Standard introduces new labels for food grown, produced or made in Australia that include the iconic kangaroo logo, together with a bar chart and text to indicate the proportion of Australian ingredients.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said clearer country of origin information helps Australians make more informed decisions about the food and other products they buy.

"Australians want to know where their food was made or packed, and how much was sourced for Australian growers," Minister Joyce said.

"This is something consumers have been wanting for a long time now.

"Thanks to our work in this area, we are already seeing food products such as Beechworth Honey, Birdseye Country Harvest Garden Mix and Angas Park dried apples displaying new country of origin labels in our supermarkets.

"With the new requirements passing through the Senate, businesses that have not already started the process can begin rolling out the new labels with confidence.

"Country of origin labelling was a key measure of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The Coalition Government has listened to consumer and producer demands for clearer labelling information, including where it is made, produced and grown.

"I look forward to more businesses providing greater transparency about where food was made or packed, and how much was sourced from Australian growers."

For food businesses, an online tool to assist businesses in creating labels, along with a range of other information and support for business, is available at business.gov.au/foodlabels or by calling 13 28 46.

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Charlie Bloomer | Thursday, February 9, 2017, 3:49 AM
Would I be correct in thinking that the country of origin will not be applied to ALL ingredients?