02.Food labelling review: threat or opportunity?
The review of Australia’s food labelling laws and policies is an opportunity to provide better information about the food we eat – but it could also threaten the information Australian consumers now take for granted.
The review was initiated by the Commonwealth of Australian Governments’ Business Regulation and Competition Working Group as part of its agenda to reduce regulatory burden on business. Some food manufacturers might view food labelling laws as a burden, but consumers know they’re vital to helping us make healthy and informed choices about what we eat.
CHOICE has successfully fought for nutrition information panels, detailed ingredient lists, country-of-origin labelling and labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods, and much more. We can now all see what’s in our food, how healthy it is, and how and where it’s produced.
Of course, there’s always room for improvement. Traffic light labels would help us make healthy choices quickly; health claims regulation would stop unhealthy foods advertising dubious health benefits; and loopholes in GM labelling laws should be closed. But we need to protect the important information we already have.
Food regulation – including labelling laws – is designed to protect public health and safety, provide consumer information and prevent misleading conduct. This review must not sacrifice the health and other interests of consumers in favour of watered-down food labelling laws or weaker industry codes that might suit some in the food industry.
CHOICE has been fighting for food labels that Australians can trust. This means keeping the labelling that’s important to you, improving things that aren’t working and adding helpful new information. Read our initial submission to the Food Labelling Review Panel.