AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy today welcomed the recent support of the Australian Greens for urgent changes to Country of Origin Labelling legislation and said that changes to the current system were critical as the current system involved a myriad of different clauses for labelling a product’s source.

“AUSVEG’s view is that current food labelling rules are far too confusing for the consumer,” Mr Mulcahy said.

“It’s critical that we address the issue of Country of Origin Labelling on food before it’s too late. I welcome the support of the Australian Greens on this issue, as product source disclosure is of particular concern to consumers and the Australian vegetable growing community, which seeks a level playing field to ensure fair competition as imports continue to rise dramatically year-on-year,” he said.

AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing around 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

“While findings from the Blewett report into labelling law released in November last year foreshadowed changes to standards for nutrition and health claims on food labels, many of the recommendations made concerning country of origin were rejected. The Government has indicated it will give further internal consideration to the issue including the information that is made available to consumers. Subsequently, AUSVEG has held initial discussions with the Federal Government about developing a framework to ensure clearer labelling.”

“The ‘Made in Australia’ label can be a little confusing, if not outright misleading. ‘Made in Australia’ can actually mean that all the ingredients are imported, but simply mixed, put together, baked, processed or packaged in Australia,” Mr Mulcahy said.

“How are consumers to understand what Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients actually means? And how are they to support Australian farmers if they can?t even distinguish between our local product and that which has been imported?”

“The current CoOL scheme does not provide consumers with certainty to make informed purchasing decisions, based on a good?s country of origin.”

“AUSVEG will continue to push for a framework to develop a system that will allow for the clear disclosure of the country of origin a vegetable product has been grown in,” Mr Mulcahy said.

“A key finding of a 2005 survey by AusPoll was that 94 per cent of consumers would support a regulation for compulsory labelling for packaged food indicating the country the food was grown in,” Mr Mulcahy said.

Mr Mulcahy added his concern that a Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement may make it more difficult for consumers to understand where a product has come from if adequate Country of Origin labelling legislation is not put in place soon.

MEDIA CONTACT: Simon Coburn, National Marketing Manager- AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Email:, Mobile: 0404 845 580