01.Labelling loophole to be closed
In a major win for consumers, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has announced that it will require declaration of the country of origin of unpackaged beef, sheep and chicken meat.
This is a big step towards closing country of origin labelling loopholes. Country of origin labelling is currently required for all packaged foods and unpackaged fruit and vegetables. When it comes to meat, however, this information is only mandatory for seafood and pork.
In our submission to FSANZ, CHOICE recommended that consumers should be given information on the origin of beef, sheep or chicken and this was a key ask in our 2011 Better Food Labelling Campaign.
We welcome the news that FSANZ will close this loophole.
However, more work is needed to improve country of origin labelling for Australian consumers. Consumers consistently nominate country of origin labelling as one of their biggest food labelling concerns. In a September 2010 CHOICE survey, 85% of respondents said they would like to know, at the very least, the origin of the ingredient that characterises products.
The current terminology is confusing for consumers who struggle with claims like ‘Made in Australia from imported and local ingredients’. We will continue to call on governments to clear up the country of origin confusion.
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