Country of origin labels revealed – will they help? 207



View Profile

The new country of origin food labelling system has been revealed last night, featuring a green and gold kangaroo and a sliding scale that tells you the percentage of the product grown in Australia.

The new labelling system, which will accompany the nutrition-information and health choices labels, is intended to reassure us that our food comes from a safe source, following the hepatitis-contaminated berries scare earlier this year.

Here is what you will see on your packaged food in the coming months:


But, as consumer watchdog Choice points out, the labels fall short in that there is no requirement for manufacturers to say where the remaining 75, 50 or 25 per cent of food comes from. Unless the producer specifically says somewhere on the packet “berries/peas/grains from Chile/China/Nicaragua”, we’re none the wiser.

The costs of the new labelling is also likely to passed on to the customer. Fairfax News estimated this would be at a rate of 1¢ for $5 products, and 0.5¢ on $2.50 products.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says 80 per cent of the 17,000 consumers the government surveyed said they were willing to pay more for the labels.

“This goes to show the consumer is willing to pay for better information. Across all products and also other manufactured goods there is actually a saving”.

Tom Godfrey, a spokesman for Choice, “Unfortunately the new system leaves it up to the manufacturers to voluntarily declare the origin of a product’s main ingredient”.

When asked how the new labelling system would help prevent future outbreaks of contamination, the Prime Minister said the labels are a separate issue from food safety standards. “Different people might have different views about where you are most likely to be confident in the quality of your food.

“But they are two separate issues. We are dealing with one. Obviously it is up to the various levels of government to deal with the other”.

How do you like the new labelling system? Will it help you make a more informed choice in the supermarket aisle? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I would like to know where the non Australian product comes from marked clearly on the packaging.

    12 REPLY
  2. As a pensioner my choice is based on price, the new labelling system is going to make the goods more expensive so I am unlikely to benefit. I realise that pensioners don’t matter in the scheme of things at the moment but wait until all the baby-boomers start coming through, then we will be in the majority and can start throwing a bit of weight around.

    18 REPLY
    • well said Trevor and they don’t give a lot of information, so will be paying more to get nothing really

    • What utter rubbish (respectfully), if you only buy on price that’s your choice and right. But the reason for the change is that we don’t know what quantity of product is Australian made. I’m also a pensioner and believe we have a duty to support Australian made over imported products – that’s my choice. I/ we rarely by home brand products and will not until our farmers get a fair farm gate price for the food they grow.

    • Eat fresh food, cook your own cakes and biscuits; you’ll save money and know what is in the food you eat. If you can’t- remember that more people die of starvation than eating food of unknown origin.

    • Noel, I believe I have a duty to support Australia’s balance of trade figures so will continue to buy imported cheaper varieties as per our trade agreements with China etc. The point about farmers is that we only hear about how hard done by they are by local buyers. In fact most successful farmers have lucrative export outlets for their prime produce and would not be in business at all if they tried to rely solely on the domestic market.

    • Are you serious Trevor, if you really believe that I fell saddened – but then we do live in a democracy. I’m sure all Australian farmers appreciate your support.

    • Is it so difficult to understand that the global community relies on trade between countries to maintain lucrative import and export markets. You must see all the imported goods that flood into this country and therefore understand that we also export our goods and produce to other countries in the same manner. All this to and fro is subject to trade agreements and if we all suddenly stopped buying imported goods then sure local prices would increase and imported products would dry up. Australia would become an isolated ex member of the global village and would subside into third world status and conditions.

    • Well the majority of people wanted it, have been screaming about it for years. Now you have it all I hear is complaints , I couldn’t care less, never look where they comes from , As usual the Governments fault.

    • It’s also shit for Australian Manufacturers who now have more expenses but the government was not interested in listening to those affected. It read well in the media so facts didn’t matter.

    • if you want to help your country buy australian ..simple as that ..STOP THIS GOVT SHOULD DO THIS GOVT SHOULD DO THAT ..we have the power to help ourselves….put your money where your whinging mouths are ….

    • the pensioners need someone in Parliament who will stand up for our rights. this governmant and Howards government put down old people as having no worth.

    • I check what I buy anyway for salt , sugar ect ….. I will be checking the labels for AUSSIE PRODUCTS I’m feed up with our products not being supported more

    • Love reading posts from people who say they only ever buy Australian. Yet they are putting up this post using a phone or ipad or computer made overseas.

  3. I think it has to be a bit better than what we have right now. I try and buy Australian made/grown but if I pick up a product that says made in Australia from local and imported ingredients I have no way of knowing how much is local and how much imported. Also frozen food can say made in New Zealand but the product was actually grown in another country and just comes packaged from New Zealand. We will never know the absolute truth about where our food comes from but this might help a bit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *