The Australian Made Campaign has rejected a Greens proposal to amend Australian food labeling laws.
Australian Made Chief Executive Ian Harrison said the Greens bill in its present form would increase rather than reduce confusion for consumers as well as businesses.
“Labeling should be simple and consistent,” Mr Harrison said.
The Greens are planning to introduce the 2013 Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Food Labelling Bill) into Parliament later this year.
“Australian Made cannot support the Bill in its current form,” Australian Made Chief Executive Ian Harrison said.
Australian Made rejects the Bill for the following reasons:
- The Bill creates a separate and inconsistent set of country of origin labeling requirements for some food products (products partly or fully processed in Australia) as distinct from other food products (fully imported foods) and all other categories of product.
- Australian Made does not see the value in banning the claims Australian Made or Made in Australia in favour of the exactly equivalent terms Australian Manufactured or Manufactured in Australia.
- The Bill does not appear to cover packaged food, which is grown (as opposed to processed) in Australia.
Where products cannot meet the criteria for Grown in Australia, Product of Australia or Manufactured in Australia, the Bill proposes only one allowable claim – Packaged in Australia.
Mr Harrison said Australian Made believes that a wider range of alternative claims should be allowable for products such as pickles processed in Australia from imported vegetables.
“Australian Made does not support the use of qualified claims such as Made in Australia from imported and local ingredients, Mr Harrison said.
“On the positive side, Australian Made supports the proposal that food may be labelled in a way that highlights significant ingredients,” he said.
For example, Manufactured in Australia from Australian milk for chocolate, as long as all the requirements for a Made in Australia claim are met.
“We also support – and in fact originated – the proposal to draw up regulations to clarify the concept of ‘substantial transformation’ and to specify processes which, by themselves, do not satisfy this test,” Mr Harrison said.
The Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo is the registered certification trade mark that labels a product as authentically made or grown in Australia.