9 June 2015
CHOICE has welcomed the Federal Government's initiative to give consumers a voice on a new food country of origin labelling system, which comes in the wake of the frozen berries fiasco.
The public consultation follows CHOICE's call for consumer testing of any proposed improvements to country of origin labelling to make sure they genuinely help Australian shoppers.
"The Federal Government's call for consumer and community feedback is a great step towards creating a meaningful and clear country of origin labelling system," says CHOICE spokesperson, Tom Godfrey.
"Labels are meant for consumers and the best judges of what is clear and meaningful on food packaging are Australian shoppers.
"The last thing we need is another flawed and confusing country of origin framework that does nothing more than tweak the status quo.
"Consumers need to ask themselves if the images and the text phrases are meaningful and will ultimately help them make an informed decision about where their food is from.
"Australians want simple labels that tell them where their food is grown and manufactured. This is why CHOICE believes any new system must highlight where the product's main ingredient comes from, not just how much of it was made or grown locally."
CHOICE's petition to the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to fix country of origin labelling has been signed by over 26,000 consumers. This sends a very strong message to the Federal Government that consumers want better food labelling.
CHOICE's country of origin petition can be signed here: http://choice.good.do/CoOL/write-to-barnaby-joyce/
For more and to access the Federal Government's Country of Origin online survey, visit choice.com.au/countryoforiginlabels
CHOICE has called for:
• 'Product of Australia' or "Australian produce" = significant ingredients and virtually all processing to be from the country claimed
• 'Manufactured in Australia' = Relating solely to manufacturing
• 'Packaged in Australia' = Relates solely to manufacturing
• Consumer testing of any changes to ensure they are meaningful
A CHOICE survey of 700 members found only 12 per cent were able to accurately identify the meaning of 'Made in Australia'.