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  • Written by Senator Cash
Food businesses have less than six months left before the new country of origin labelling requirements become mandatory on 1 July 2018.

Australian consumers have made it known they want clearer and more meaningful country of origin food labelling so they can make more informed choices about the food they buy.

The Turnbull Government has responded by implementing new rules for food businesses about when they can claim their product was made, grown, produced or packed in Australia or another country.

Under the new requirements, most Australian foods sold at retail will need to carry a label with a clearly defined box containing:

-        a kangaroo in a triangle logo to indicate that food was grown, produced or made in Australia

-        a bar chart to indicate the proportion of Australian ingredients in the food

-        a statement summarising the visual information.

The new country of origin labels for food were introduced on 1 July 2016 as a result of a new Information Standard and subsequent amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The end of the two-year transition period is fast approaching.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash said that “this was a significant piece of legislation for the Turnbull Government.

“We’ve delivered these reforms which give consumers the information they’ve been asking for, while seeking to minimise costs to businesses by giving them flexibility in how the labels can be applied to packaging.

“With more and more products carrying the new labels appearing on shelves, shoppers are getting better information about the products they buy.

“I applaud the many businesses that have already embraced the labelling reforms and urge those businesses that haven’t changed over to the new labels to do so as soon as possible,” Minister Cash said.

Help is available from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website www.accc.gov.au/cool for businesses looking to understand the new requirements and what they mean for their products well ahead of the 1 July 2018 deadline.

Businesses can also access a range of resources at business.gov.au/foodlabels, including an online tool to help design the new labels and a style guide.

Businesses which fail to make the changes in time risk the ACCC or state and territory consumer affairs agencies taking action against them. This could include the issuing of infringement notices or applying to a court for penalties of up to $1.1 million. 

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