The Australian Made Campaign recently gave evidence before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry as part of the inquiry into the country-of-origin labelling of food.
The Australian Made Campaign is a not-for-profit organisation that administers Australia’s registered certification trademark for country-of-origin, the green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, and Compliance and Policy Manager, Lisa Crowe made recommendations to the committee on how food labelling laws could be improved to build greater consumer confidence in the labelling of Australian products and produce.
According to Mr Harrison, research clearly shows consumer preference for food products that are made and grown in Australia. Therefore, an effective country-of-origin labelling system trusted and understood by consumers, will strengthen this important asset for Australia’s food growers and processors.
He added that the system would help combat the number of companies attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin.
The Australian Made Campaign has appeared before a number of Senate Committees on country-of-origin labelling discussions in recent years.
The organisation once again recommended to the committee that the regulations under Australian Consumer Law should fall in line with the more stringent rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, thereby removing some of the existing loopholes.
Mr Harrison explains food products with high levels of imported content, which undergo simple processing in Australia, cannot use the green-and-gold Australian Made logo, and neither should they be able to claim that they were manufactured here under Australian Consumer Law.
He said that consistent food labelling laws would provide consumers with greater certainty in the choices they make at the checkout, and support growers and manufacturers of genuine Aussie products.
The Australian Made Campaign also made several recommendations including clarification of the concept of ‘substantial transformation’, specification of processes which, by themselves, do not satisfy this test, and the disallowance of qualified claims for products that do not satisfy this test.