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Australian food products receive a new look with country-of-origin label

Grocery Section

Food products from Australia don a new country-of-origin label in their packaging.

In an effort to standardise and authenticate food products sold in Australia, the government along with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) implements a new Information Standard that includes a country-of-origin labelling system—Country of Origin Food Labelling (CoOL) Information Standard 2016. This label explains where the raw materials and/or the product itself was made.

The label consists of a bar chart, descriptive text, and with or without the kangaroo.

The new label is required for all food products intended for human consumption and retail sales in Australia—including imported goods. It mainly covers priority food—meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, cereals, bread, nuts, honey, and non-carbonated fruit juices—and maybe optional for non-priority food—seasonings, confectionery, biscuits and snack food, bottled water, sodas and sports drinks, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, it can be classified according to production requirements: ‘Grown in’—ingredients are grown in Australia; ‘Produced in’—products manufactured in Australia; and ‘Made in’—major processing or the last substantial transformation occurred in Australia. On the other hand, ‘Packed in Australia’ is used for products packed in the country, yet do not meet the requirements to claim to be grown, produced or made in Australia.

Through this new country standard, Australians can help give out support to their local farmers and food producers as it will be easier for them to spot which products are grown, produced and made locally. Although exported food products are required to have this label on their packaging, those who do so will give consumers assurance about their products. Thus, this standard provides more safety for consumers by restricting suppliers from giving misleading information about where their food came from.

To make sure that businesses are complying with the new standard, the ACCC conducts market surveillance checks on about 10,000 food products.

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