Australian Consumer Affairs Ministers yesterday agreed to reform the country of origin labelling system for food to give Australian consumers clearer and more meaningful information about the food they buy. It is expected that reforms will commence from 1 July 2016 and business will have two years to transition to the new arrangements. In addition, current stock in trade will also be allowed to see out its use-by-date.

As a result of this decision, most foods produced for retail sale in Australia that are either made, produced or grown in Australia will be required to include a kangaroo in a triangle logo (from the Australian made logo) to indicate the Australian connection and a bar chart and other words indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients.

The phrases “Grown In” and “Produced In” are the premium phrases and are to be used to indicate that all of the ingredients are Australian and the major processing occurred in Australia. An example of this is below:

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“Made In” means that the food underwent its “last substantial transformation” in that country. If the food is made in Australia, the labelling must display the kangaroo logo, the words “Made in Australia”, a bar chart and a statement as to the percentage of ingredients of the food, by ingoing weight, that are Australian. Examples are below:

Click here to view the image.

Provision is made for averaging the proportion of ingredients where the sources of ingredients vary.

A new information standard will be crafted under the Australian Consumer Law for country of origin labelling. This standard will replace the current mandatory labelling requirements outlined in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Australian consumers will now have greater certainty on the source of ingredients in their food and that claims of “Made in” and “Product of” Australia are applied consistently.

A useful fact sheet can be found here.