The Australian Made Campaign has renewed its efforts to make country-of-origin labelling mandatory across all food products. This follows the decision by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to keep this information optional for a small range of 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, FSANZ has now announced that country-of-origin labelling will not be made mandatory for unpackaged foods not already covered by the standard, including game meats, poultry other than chicken, eggs and cheese.
Expressing his disappointment about the scrapping of the proposal, Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison argued that extending the country-of-origin labelling requirements to all foods would have reduced consumer confusion and promoted confidence in the system.
Mr Harrison explained that it was important for food labelling requirements to be clear, straightforward and consistent across all types of food including packaged and unpackaged. He observed that for consumers to buy with confidence, they need to know the origin of the food. Extending country-of-labelling across all products would have minimal impact on producers, with some major retailers 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.