The Australian government has revealed the labels that will make it easier for shoppers to tell how much of the food they’re buying was grown locally.
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Australia’s consumer organisation Choice has been campaigning for better country of origin labelling for years, but it said the new labels will still leave people wondering.
Packaged food will have to carry a “made in”, “grown in” or “packed in” label. While the “made in” label tells consumers what percentage of a product is Australian ingredients, it doesn’t say where the rest of the ingredients are from.
Choice policy and campaigns adviser Katinka Day said the system made it easier to support Australian products but was less useful for consumers who were interested in the source of non-Australian ingredients.
“For example, claims such as ‘Made in Australia from more than 50% Australian ingredients’ won't help you know if your frozen berries come from China, Canada or Chile,” Ms Day said.
“Unfortunately the new system leaves it up to the manufacturers to voluntarily declare the origin of a product’s main ingredient.”
There are no requirements for country of origin labelling on food products here. Our forthcoming report on the issue looks at country of origin statements on frozen fruit and vegetables.