Australia to introduce new country of origin food labelling system

GMT 14:54 2015 Tuesday ,21 July

Arab Today, arab today Australia to introduce new country of origin food labelling system

Food labelling system
Canberra - XINHUA

Australian government announced on Tuesday that the country will introduce a new labelling system which will contain clearer and simpler information identifying the country of origin of food products later this year.

"New country of origin food labels will begin to appear on supermarket shelves later this year," said Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a joint press conference with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Industry Ian MacFarlane.

"Australians will benefit from clearer, simpler information about where products come from."

The new food labelling system will show consumers where products are made, grown or packaged.

Foods processed locally will have a new label which includes the familiar green and gold kangaroo and triangle icon, with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients are from Australia.

This will include, for example, "Made in Australia from 100% Australian ingredients" and "Packed in Australia, Made in Canada."

Companies will be encouraged to provide additional information on their labels identifying the origin of key ingredients, for example, "Made in Australia from Australian carrots and French peas."

"It is important to ensure consumers have the information they need to make informed choices about the products they buy. Australians have made it clear they want better country of origin labelling and the Government is determined to deliver it," Abbott said in a statement.

Digital options are also being developed so consumers who want more detailed information can get it.

These reforms will also clarify the definition of "made in" Australia.

"Importing ingredients and simply slicing them will no longer qualify for a 'made in' claim," Abbott said.

Under the new scheme, if a product is imported into Australia and then re-packed, the label will identify where the item comes from.

Abbott also promised that the Commonwealth Government will work with the States and Territories, whose agreement is required to roll out the new labels.

An initial voluntary take-up of the country of origin food labels will mean shoppers should see changes on the shelves later this year.

The mandatory rollout will commence in 2016, providing manufacturers with time to implement the new scheme.

Abbott said the new system will cost about 37 million AU dollars (27 million U.S. dollars) but stressed that Australian consumers are willing to pay some money for clearer information about the food they eat.

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