The Australian Made Campaign has expressed its approval for the recommendations that the Senate Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs made to the Government regarding food labelling laws.
“If implemented, these recommendations will make it easier for consumers to identify genuine Aussie products and build greater confidence back into Australia’s food labelling system,” said Ian Harrison, Australian Made Campaign’s Chief Executive in a media release from the organization’s website.
Basically the Senate Committee has recommended that the Bill should not be passed and the federal government should come up with a more effective labeling for the country of origin (CoOL). The recommendations are the result of an inquiry into amendments to the laws in a Bill drafted by the Greens Party last year.
The Committee’s recommendations, which are all supported by Australian Made, are as follows:
1. The bill as drafted should not be passed.
2. The government should consider developing a more effective country of origin (CoOL) framework (including a more effective definition of ‘substantially transformed’), which better balances the interests of consumers, primary producers and manufacturers.
3. The government should consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of creating a “negative list” for processes that do not satisfy the “substantial transformation” test for CoOL purposes.
4. Upon the development and implementation of a new CoOL labelling system as per Recommendation 2, the committee recommends that the government should develop an effective public education campaign for the new CoOL guidelines.
“It is encouraging that our voice has been heard and our suggestions have been taken onboard,” said Harrison. “Our hope is that the Government will act on these recommendations swiftly, to make it more difficult for products with high imported content and minimal local processing to pass themselves off as Australian.”
Australian Made has previously asked for a restriction on the definition of ‘substantial transformation’, and encouraged the use of a ‘negative list’ for processes that do not meet the standards of the ‘substantial transformation’ test, which is “putting Australian Consumer Law on par with the rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown [AMAG] logo,” according to the media release.
Meanwhile, The Herald Sun has also quoted the Food and Grocery Council saying the proposed bill is “ludicrous.”
A spokesman for the Food and Grocery Council said “We are willing to look at ways of improving country of origin labelling arrangements that will provide consumers meaningful information on where foods are made, recognising that food manufacturing supports Australian jobs.”