A new video released today by the national vegetable peak industry body representing 9,000 farmers exposes the massive failure of Australia’s current food labelling laws to provide consumers with meaningful information about the food they are buying and eating.


“Through interviews with everyday Australians our video reveals the depth of confusion that exists about labelling rules and proves that consumers are being seriously misled under current laws,” said AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy.


“Overwhelmingly those we interviewed believed that the ‘Made In’ Australia label meant that products were genuinely from Australia including ingredients, but that’s actually not the case.”


“Australia’s current system of Country of Origin Labelling on food is failing consumers and it leaves them completely in the dark about where their food is actually coming from.”


As the Federal Government considers its options for changing Country of Origin labelling rules, AUSVEG is calling on Australians to express public support for meaningful reforms using the twitter hashtag #coolchange or call or write to their local Federal Member of Parliament.


“Now more than ever, consumers want clear Country of Origin Labelling on the food they buy. Reform to Australia’s CoOL system is long overdue, and now is the time to make strong, lasting improvements to the system that will explain where a product has been manufactured and where the main ingredients are from,” said Mr Mulcahy.


“When presented with everyday grocery items like teabags or pasta sauce, an overwhelming proportion of the shoppers we spoke to felt that the products’ packaging was confusing and shoppers felt that some products were deliberately misleading.”


AUSVEG is the leading horticulture body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.


AUSVEG has led the charge for CoOL reform and has strongly supported the Federal Government’s commitment to reforming the current laws.


“AUSVEG is embarking on a Twitter and lobbying campaign using the hashtag #coolchange to gather further public support for meaningful changes to the system that will tell consumers where a product has been manufactured or processed, and where the main ingredients are from,” said Mr Mulcahy.


“The Federal Cabinet will be considering CoOL reform in August, and AUSVEG has already put forward a set of proposals for a clearer system which protects consumer rights, and provides further information about where the characterising ingredients have been sourced from.”


“There is a clear disconnect between what consumers want to know and the jargon they are being fed by packaging. Under our current system, some food manufacturers are able to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes by using ambiguous and misleading claims to obscure the actual origin of ingredients.”

In a 2014 CHOICE survey, 85 per cent of respondents said it was ‘crucial’ or ‘very important’ for them to be able to identify if the food they buy has been grown in Australian.


“Australia’s food production protocols are second to none, and when AUSVEG interviewed everyday Australians, we found huge levels of concern about the standards of countries which export food to Australia.”


AUSVEG encourages Australian consumers to provide input on the labelling changes at www.industry.gov.au/cool and by using the hashtag ‘coolchange’. The video can be viewed by clicking here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330, Email: andrew.macdonald@ausveg.com.au