AUSVEG is urging the Australian Labor Party to stand up for consumers and commit to strengthening Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling laws, following the Hepatitis scare linked to imported frozen berries.

In the aftermath of the public health incident, there have been mounting public calls for significant improvements to labelling laws, to give consumers clarity about the origins of the products they are buying and eating.

“While a number of key figures from across the political spectrum have stood up in support of strengthening Country of Origin Labelling, we are yet to hear a firm commitment from the ALP, and its leader, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP,” said AUSVEG CEO, Mr Richard Mulcahy.

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

“Given the overwhelming groundswell of public support for clearer labelling laws, the ALP can no longer duck for cover on this issue, and I am today urging Mr Shorten to back a system which will give consumers the clarity they so obviously desire.”

“I will also be seeking a meeting with the Opposition Leader to discuss the Country of Origin Labelling issue, which is of such grave importance to both consumers and the Australian vegetable and potato industries.”

Mr Mulcahy said strengthening Country of Origin Labelling in the aftermath of the imported berry Hepatitis scare was so important that it should transcend political boundaries.

“AUSVEG has welcomed Federal Agriculture Minister, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP’s acknowledgment of the importance of stronger Country of Origin Labelling laws as part of the response to this deeply-concerning incident.”

“We went as far as offering support for the transferral of responsibility for Country of Origin Labelling to the Agriculture portfolio, given Minister Joyce’s stance.”

“We have also been vocally supportive of Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne who introduced new legislation seeking to strengthen Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling measures, even before the health scare involving berries imported from China came to light.”  

“Now it is time for the ALP to stand up on this issue and back improvements to Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling laws.”

“An improved labelling system will provide Australian consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about the food they are purchasing, and allow them to exercise their preference for purchasing Australian produce.”

“It will also have the added bonus of allowing Australian growers to compete against the tide of cheap, inferior foreign products.”

AUSVEG has also thrown its support behind a CHOICE petition calling on the Government to implement stronger Country of Origin Labelling laws. CHOICE is now seeking 25,000 petitioners via the link,, having easily surpassed its initial target of 5,000.

  Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications

Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330 Email: