Proposed legislative reforms by the Greens to Country of Origin labelling laws for food products introduced into both houses of Parliament this week have been described by AUSVEG as a great step forward for Australian consumers and growers.
The bills, introduced by Greens leader Senator Christine Milne in the Senate and her deputy Adam Bandt in the House, aim to make it easier for consumers to identify which country food products have originated from.
‘The introduction of these Bills highlights how important the issue of Country of Origin labelling is to Australian consumers and also to Australian food producers. Finally consumers will be given the information that will allow them to make informed decisions about where their food comes from,’ said AUSVEG chief executive officer, Richard Mulcahy.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
‘Findings released recently by the Australian Made, Australian Grown campaign have shown that just under 9 out of 10 Australian consumers prefer their food and drink to be made in Australia. This shows that consumers want to be able to make these choices when they shop,’ said Mr Mulcahy.
Research conducted for AUSVEG earlier this year found that 80 per cent of consumers surveyed want to purchase Australian produce to support farmers and to have a viable industry.
‘Australian consumers want to see improvements to Country of Origin Labelling laws and it’s encouraging to see the Greens leading the way with a Bill that will do just this,’ said Mr Mulcahy.
‘AUSVEG supports the proposed changes to the current laws outlined in these bills.’
The bills propose that some recommendations made last year in the Blewett Review into Food Labelling be enacted.
‘These proposed changes will make it a lot easier for Australian consumers to identify and recognise which country their food has come from, as it will tidy up the ambiguous claims of ”local and imported ingredients”, he said.
With the clear declarations on food packaging under the new bill, a new claim, ‘Made of Australian ingredients’ , will be able to be used, indicating that 90 per cent or more of the contents have been grown in Australia.