You may have heard about the new food labels being introduced by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) around Australia in July 2016. But like us, all you’ve heard so far is that the food labels are changing. So, we thought we’d delve a little deeper for you to find out exactly what’s going on.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELLING
Being such huge supporters of Australian made, we welcome the move for labelling to identify the country of origin of the product. However, not all our food can be grown in Australia for various reasons (climate for example) so these labels will help guide you to make better decisions.
It’s important to know where your products have originated from for a number of reasons:
How far has this product had to travel in order to reach you?
Is the purchase of these products having a negative impact on the country of origin because of international demand for this product?
Can you get this product closer to home – can you substitute it for something local and in season?
Read more in this article on food miles.
So, we already have country of origin information on our food labels, right? Yes. But the problem with this is businesses who are just packaging their products in Australia from food sourced overseas have been claiming that it is Australian made – which may be causing confusion for some consumers.
There are five new labels in total. The following three are identified with a kangaroo symbol:
GROWN IN AUSTRALIA – You’re good to go with this option as this label means your food is 100% grown in Australia.
PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA – Think canned or bagged goods where the ingredients are 100% Australian and they’ve been processed here too. This means, you’re supporting Australian farmers and Australian manufacturing. Win, win.
MADE IN AUSTRALIA – Most of the processing has been completed here in Australia and the ingredients must contain a significant portion of Australian grown food. The best thing about this label is it shows what percentage of ingredients are Australian. This means that businesses that are just repackaging their products in Australia cannot claim that their product is Australian made.
There are two more labels that contain information about the ingredients of the product and where they come from. These will usually be direct imports or are repackaged in Australia from imported foods:
PACKED IN AUSTRALIA – Shows a simple bar chart along with the percentage of Australian ingredients contained within.
PRODUCT OF ‘COUNTRY’ – This label will have a plain sticker stating which country the product comes from. This is for goods that are produced, made, grown or packed outside of Australia.
The new labels will allow us to make informed decisions, giving a voice to your purchase. Don’t underestimate your buying voice! The choices you make are like a vote – the more you purchase locally made, organic and hand made, the more companies will produce products like this to meet demand.
Companies have two years from the 1st of July 2016 to start changing their labels over. This allows time to move through current stock. As a purchaser, we encourage you to get behind the new system and use your vote for Australian made.