Apps no substitute for genuine Country of Origin Labelling
AUSVEG will continue pushing for a genuine Country of Origin Labelling system for Australian consumers and growers, with the Federal Government indicating it intends to review its recently-announced labelling reforms within two years.
The leading horticultural body representing 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers has welcomed some elements of the labelling reforms, but is concerned the measures do not make it mandatory for specific countries of origin of imported ingredients contained in Australian-manufactured food products to be displayed on labels.
“We note the Government has indicated it will investigate online platforms and digital options as a means of providing more information on product ingredients, but this is a woefully inadequate substitute for a genuine system that identifies the country of origin of key ingredients on labels,” said AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy.
“By making this information available only online, a massive segment of the community – particularly older Australians – will be robbed of the opportunity to truly know the origins of their food.”
Less than half of Australians aged over 65 and almost a quarter of the population overall do not own a smartphone according to the most recent Mobile Consumer Survey by Deloitte.
“Unless the countries of origin of a product’s key ingredients are printed on food packaging rather than expressed via a smartphone app, or online, older Australians will be unable to make informed purchasing decisions,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“Indeed, the vast majority of Australian consumers want to see clear and specific Country of Origin Labelling printed on food packaging, and do not want to take out their phone every time they’re worried about whether the berries in an apple and berry crumble come from Australia or China.”
“They simply want to see the origin of a product’s ingredients on the packaging.”
“If food manufacturers are willing to change markings on a product for scanning by an app, and digitally update ingredient lists online, then we see no reason they cannot also change printed text indicating the country of origin of ingredients on product labels.”
“While the reforms unveiled by the Government are a step in the right direction, we feel further action needs to be taken to give consumers the precise information about the origins of the food they are eating that they so clearly desire.”
“AUSVEG will continue pushing for a genuine Country of Origin Labelling system as the Government rolls out its labelling changes, and leading in to the two year review.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org