Food labelling for consumers

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Consumer

Consumers can now identify how much of the food they are buying is sourced or made in Australia with the country of origin labelling system. 

There are two key features to look for a:

  1. kangaroo logo - which means the food is made or grown in Australia
  2. bar chart and description - which shows what percentage of the ingredients are Australian 

The labelling system applies to food for retail sale in Australia, including in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine. The law does not apply to food sold in places like restaurants, cafes, take-away shops, schools, or to food provided by caterers.

Labelling requirements will vary depending on the type of food product and whether it was grown, produced, made or packed in Australia or another country.

For most imported food (food grown, produced, made or packaged in a country other than Australia), the country of origin will need to be specified on the labelling in a clearly defined box.

The labels started in 1 July 2016 and are already being phased into many supermarkets and grocery outlets.  Businesses have two years to change their labels to comply with the new law before it becomes mandatory on 1 July 2018.

To find out more visit: www.foodlabels.industry.gov.au

Country of origin label - small
Country of origin label - small, by ACL food labelling

Country of origin labels

The new labels will show a:

  • triangle kangaroo symbol showing the Australian origin
  • bar chart and statement showing the percentage of Australian ingredients.

To find out more visit: www.foodlabels.industry.gov.au

Misleading labels

Businesses must not make false or misleading representations about the country of origin of goods. A representation about country of origin can include words, a picture or both, indicating that goods were made, produced or grown in a particular country.

'Product of' and 'Grown in'

'Product of' and 'Grown in' means that each significant ingredient or component of the product originated in or was grown in the country claimed and all, or almost all, of the production and manufacturing processes occurred in that country.

Logos and symbols

There are a number of recognised logos which indicate where food has been made or grown, such as ‘Australian Made, Australian Grown’.

Growers often have their own 'stickers' identifying their company or region, for example WA citrus fruit may have a sticker stating Westralia Fruit, Gingin Citrus, Yambellup Estate, Moora Citrus, Sandgroper, Harvey Citrus or  AGRIFresh.

The WA Birthmark symbol is used on product(s) made primarily in Western Australia.  If the symbol is used incorrectly and deemed to be false, misleading or deceptive, then penalties may apply under the Australian Consumer Law.

Buy West Eat Best is another brand some producers and citrus products use to identify their origin.

The new labels will help consumers to easily identify the country of origin of food products.

Ownership claims

Some foods include claims on their labels such as ‘Proudly Australian owned’ or ‘100% Australian owned’. These statements are about the ownership of the company; they don’t indicate where the product was made or where its ingredients came from.

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