The AMWU will be seeking clarification from the Greens about how their Bill, whose stated objective is to remove ambiguity and confusion from Country of Origin Labelling for food, will impact on local food manufacturers and consumers.
The AMWU noted that the press release and speeches focused on the benefit of their Bill for farmers and growers, but said very little about local manufacturing.
Jennifer Dowell, AMWU National Food and Confectionery Division Secretary said, “While the AMWU supports Australian farmers and growers, we believe that this Bill needs to be clarified for the sake of many thousands of local manufacturing jobs associated with food processing and transformation, an industry which many growers supply.
“It is our position that getting Country of Origin labelling of food that is not only grown but transformed and/or manufactured here right and understood by consumers is very important. The AMWU has consistently argued for just this outcome.
“The Australian people are just as concerned that their food is processed here, under high Australian standards, and employing Australians as they are about the ingredients being grown here.
“We are concerned that the Bill in its current form may in fact allow products produced overseas from Australian ingredients to be marketed as ‘Made of Australian Ingredients’ without having to advise consumers of the country in which it was produced.
“The AMWU will also seek clarity around the issue for labelling of products processed in Australia with less than 90% local content. This is a particular issue for those manufacturers, such as chocolate manufacturers, for example, who are unable to source their raw ingredients in Australia but who substantially transform or process in Australia creating hundreds of jobs.
“We think it is time to bring forward a genuine discussion about Country of Origin labelling in our food, but it must have a wider scope than just where the ingredients were grown.
“We will be seeking to clarify with the Greens how they see their Bill impacting on local food manufacturing and to take the opportunity to raise the concerns of workers in food manufacturing” said Ms. Dowell.
Published @ http://www.amwu.org.au