The Federal Government has recently issued new requirements for labelling food with country of origin information. The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Standard) will replace existing requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Code). These new rules will require changes to the appearance and content of country of origin labels applied to most food products sold in Australia, resulting in labels such as the following which are designed to convey more information in a manner that is easier for consumers to understand.
The kinds of foods that will require labels under the new Standard will be largely the same as those that were previously labelled under the Code. However, the new labels incorporate a more forensic level of detail, which will require growers, manufacturers/processors, retailers and importers to be aware of where their foods are sourced, and their individual obligations for food labelling at each stage of the supply chain. While this will increase the compliance burden for those in the supply chain, it is hoped that the Standard will highlight Australian produce, and help consumers make better informed purchasing decisions.
The Standard has a transition period up until 1 July 2018. From this date, food sold in Australia must be labelled according to the Standard.
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This article was written by Luke Dale, Partner, Daniel Kiley, Senior Associate and Megan Peake, Law Clerk.