The Australian Made Campaign appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry today, to give evidence to the committee’s inquiry into the country-of-origin labelling of food.
The Australian Made Campaign is the not-for-profit organisation that administers Australia’s registered certification trade mark for country-of-origin, the green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo.
Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, and Compliance and Policy Manager, Lisa Crowe made recommendations to the committee on how food labelling laws could be improved, to build greater consumer confidence in the labelling of Australian products and produce.
“Research clearly shows that consumers have a preference for food products that are made and grown in Australia,” Mr Harrison said.
“An effective country-of-origin labelling system, trusted and understood by consumers, will strengthen this important asset for Australia’s food growers and processors.
“This will help combat the number of companies attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin, ” Mr Harrison said.
The Australian Made Campaign has appeared before a number of Senate Committees on country-of-origin labelling in recent years.
“Today we again recommended that the regulations under Australian Consumer Law fall into line with the more stringent rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, thereby eradicating some of the loopholes that currently exist,” Mr Harrison said.
“Food products with high levels of imported content which undergo simple processing in Australia cannot use the green-and-gold Australian Made logo, and neither should they be able to claim that they were manufactured here under Australian Consumer Law.
“Consistent food labelling laws would provide consumers with greater certainty in the choices they make at the checkout, and support growers and manufacturers of genuine Aussie products,” Mr Harrison said.
Other recommendations included clarification of the concept of ‘substantial transformation’, specification of processes which, by themselves, do not satisfy this test, and the disallowance of qualified claims for products which do not satisfy this test.
“We are thrilled that this inquiry is being conducted within the House of Representatives structure – the seat of Government – because there is great potential for positive changes to be made,” Mr Harrison said.
The Standing Committee will be hearing from organisations throughout today in Canberra and tomorrow in Sydney.