National Farmers' Federation

Farmers welcome improved country of origin labelling laws

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) CEO Simon Talbot says improvements to Australia’s country of origin labelling system, announced by the Federal Government today, will provide consumers with a clearer understanding of where their food comes from.
The new food labels – due to appear on supermarket shelves later this year – will allow products to be easily compared, so that consumers can make more informed purchasing decisions.
“The NFF, together with the Australian community, expressed their concerns that the former labelling system contributed to a level of confusion among consumers, rather than informing them as to the true origins of the food they consume,” Mr Talbot said.
“We were pleased to see the Government respond to these concerns and undertake an extensive consultation process with industry on ways to provide clearer information about where products are made, grown or packaged.
“The NFF provided a set of guiding principles to the Government, some of which are reflected in today’s announcement. We are particularly pleased with the sliding scale to help inform consumers about the proportion of local or imported ingredients in certain products.
“We also welcome the phased implementation period for small business, which includes an initial voluntary take-up of the new labelling regime followed by a mandatory rollout to commence in 2016,” Mr Talbot said.
A sensible lead-in period was supported by the NFF to avoid unreasonable regulatory costs being passed on to farmers.
The NFF has maintained that improving the labelling system would not only provide consumers with a greater understanding of where their produce comes from but promote the great success story that is Australian agriculture.
“Clearer labelling, together with assured traceability, will reinforce our reputation as producers of high-quality, safe and sustainable food for Australian families,” Mr Talbot said.

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