Poisoned berries triggered the Commonwealth Government to overhaul Australia's country of origin food labelling laws.
From July 1 2016, the Commonwealth Government implemented food labelling reform to more clearly show Australian consumers where a product has been made, grown or packaged.
What does this mean?
Under the changes it is mandatory for all priority foods grown, produced or made in Australia to include the kangaroo logo (the kangaroo and triangle emblem) together with a bar chart to indicate the proportion of Australian ingredients. Food manufacturers will be encouraged to include the origin of ingredients in additional detail on their labels. For example, banana bread sold in Australian supermarkets that contain 80 per cent Australian ingredients and 20 per cent of imported ingredients from multiple origins, would contain a country of origin label with the kangaroo logo, an 80% bar chart and the description 'Made in Australia from at least 80% Australian ingredients'.
Does this system apply to all food products?
The CoOL laws apply to all priority foods offered or suitable for retail sale in Australia. The standard for non-priority foods only requires a text statement about where the food was grown, produced or made. Non-priority foods include seasoning, confectionery, tea and coffee, biscuits and snack food, soft drinks and sports drinks and alcoholic beverages. Priority foods are all other food products. If the food contains imported ingredients from multiple origins, the label must state that the food contains imported ingredients.
Branding Australian made or grown products with the kangaroo logo has a clear influence on consumer sentiments and likelihood to purchase. Key findings from Roy Morgan Research has shown that 58% of consumers purchase products Made in Australia and 68% of consumers purchase products Grown in Australia based on country of origin statements on the product.
When will CoOL become mandatory?
New food labels become mandatory as of 1st July 2018 and all products labelled from this time need to carry the new labels. Please note existing stock in trade can see out its shelf life.
The Commonwealth Government has developed a CoOL online tool to assist businesses with determining which country of origin label to use for their food products. In addition to this, they've also provided further online resources on the reform for businesses and consumers. For more infomation on labelling reforms please visit https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/goods-and-services/selling-goods-and-services/selling-goods/country-of-origin-food-labelling
If your business is going to be affected by the Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws and you need assistance updating your product label formats for compliance, please contact us.