Half-made in Australia label "insulting" says Nick Xenathon

Independent MP Nick Xenathon has described the current benchmarks for Made in Australia labelling as “ridiculous” and “insulting”.

“Our current rules positively mislead consumers,” he told The New Daily last night. “It is insulting to consumers and it costs farmers their jobs.”

As we reported here, the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has released six potential logos designed to eliminate confusion around country of origin. However, consumer watchdog Choice says ,“The last thing we need is another flawed and confusing country of origin framework that does nothing more than tweak the status quo.”

According to Mr Xenathon and Choice, the new labels may look new, but they don’t actually improve much on the existing “Made in Australia” claim.

The ACC website confirms, “A product with a ‘Made in Australia’ label won’t necessarily contain Australian ingredients.”

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Pigs legs and middles, for example, can be imported into Australia from the US, Denmark or Netherlands, be cured in an Australian facility then sold as “Made in Australia” bacon or ham.

Coffee and cocoa beans from all over the world can be used to make “Made in Australia” chocolate and coffee, and screws, fabric and springs from China could be holding your “Made in Australia” couch together.

The six logo options include a pie chart and a kangaroo, all of which propose the same threshold: 51 per cent local ingredients.

“It must be much higher,” the Senator told The New Daily. “It can’t be window dressing. We need serious reform.”

Not-for-profit organisation Australian Made, which uses the logo pictured above, says the logos proposed by the government are confusing and provide consumers with no clues as to whether the product they purchase is 51 per cent Australian or 99 per cent local.

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The independent organisation has tighter regulations and the  kangaroo symbol cannot be applied to imported pork, coffee beans or other ingredients.

See the proposed new labels and share your opinion here.

Tell us: are you surprised to know that imported ingredients can be labelled “made in Australia”? How do you make sure you’re getting local products?