Following an outbreak of Hepatitis A allegedly linked to imported frozen berries, the Commonwealth announced in mid-2015 that a new Country of Origin labelling scheme would be developed.
A scheme has been developed and which is hoped to be ready to implement by mid-2016. This is a complex issue and the interdepartmental team, led by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, have clearly given the matter considerable thought. The percentage of a product from outside Australia is proposed in a bar code on a label. County of origin of each component of a processed food is not proposed.
More detail can be found at www.industry.gov.au/cool.
Key points are;
- The system will be implemented via Australian Consumer Law and so will require the agreement of all States.
- The new proposal brings together the current system, that in the Food Standards Code, the system used by Customs and the Made in Australia logo.
- Significant market research has been done.
- A phase-in process is proposed.
- The scheme will be reviewed after a transition period.
- The aim is to harmonise with nutrition labelling and health star ratings.
- A number of points remain to be resolved.
It was clear from a consultation meeting in Brisbane on 14 January that many companies had not understood the proposal and that issues affecting a range of companies had not been resolved.
FoodStream members Jacinta Sexton and Marie Lewis are labelling experts and can assist with labelling issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is still time to comment, even if time is short.