Time is running out to have your say on Country of Origin Labelling reforms.
The consultation period closes on January 29 and consumers and businesses are being urged to comment on the proposed changes.
The Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, which was released late last year, outlined the issues to consider when implementing the new reform agenda for country of origin food labelling in Australia.
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he wanted consumers and businesses alike to have the chance to provide feedback and opinion to ensure the reforms are based on the best information available.
“Since the consultation opened in December we have heard from food manufacturers, retailers, agricultural producers and consumers – but we welcome more feedback,” Mr Pyne said.
“We have come a long way in addressing an issue that previous governments from both sides of politics have failed to resolve.
“But we have to make sure the feedback we gather is as comprehensive as it can be so that the reforms can meet the needs of as many people as possible.”
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce expects the reforms to “hit the mark” and create a clear and unambiguous country of origin labelling system.
“Through collaboration between governments, food businesses, retailers, farmers and consumers we have put together a set of positive reforms for the Australian food labelling system,” Mr Joyce said.
“We are looking to finally address an issue which has existed in the Australian food industry for a long time. That’s why it is important that everyone who is interested and has views on this is able to consider the proposals and to make a contribution.”
The consultation period also includes an opportunity to comment on a draft information standard that sets out the rules around food products and the proposed new labelling requirements.
When the reforms have been finalised, a national campaign would be developed to inform Australians and businesses about changes to country of origin labelling for food.
Mr Pyne said the campaign would include a new online tool to assist businesses to identify and download the right label for their food products.
“The online tool is an important innovation that will make it easier for businesses to provide the information that consumers want,” Mr Pyne said.
“This tool will reduce the burden on industry in moving to the new requirements by doing the hard work for them.”
Comprehensive user testing prior to release will ensure the tool is easy to use and effective. An accompanying style guide will outline the new labelling requirements and origin labels will be available in a range of formats to suit business needs.
To comment on the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement and draft legislation, find out about the remaining information sessions, or obtain further information on country of origin labelling, visit: https://consult.industry.gov.au/cool-taskforce/cool