AUSVEG is deeply concerned following more reports of the widespread counterfeiting of quality Australian produce by unscrupulous operators in overseas markets, particularly in China.

Today’s revelations in the media, including an estimate that for every one kilogram of some commodities exported from Australia to China five kilograms is being counterfeited, follow concerns raised earlier this year about the widespread practice, which poses a serious threat to Australia’s reputation as producer of clean, green and safe produce.

“AUSVEG shares the views of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck that unsafe foreign produce being labelled as Australian and sold in overseas markets poses a significant threat to the reputations of both our growers and their produce,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development, Michael Coote.

“AUSVEG is deeply concerned to see unscrupulous foreign operators taking advantage of the impeccable reputation of Australian produce and attempting to pass their own inferior and potentially unsafe product off as Australian in international markets.”

“Given the dire state of food production standards in China, the last thing we need is a food safety incident involving counterfeit Australian produce in that country to be blamed on genuine producers here.” 

“It is imperative that the relevant international authorities act now before Australian vegetable and potato exporters become the unwitting victims of these appalling scams.”

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

Today’s revelations come after AUSVEG earlier this year raised concerns that counterfeit Australian produce was being found not just in Asia, but as far afield as the Middle East. We have presented that information to the Department of Agriculture and are waiting on a detailed response.

“It’s bad enough that widespread examples of counterfeit Australian produce are being found in the domestic market in China, but recent examples have suggested dodgy operators in that country are also attempting to sell their bogus wares as far afield as the Middle East,” said Mr Coote.

“Given ongoing efforts to open up export markets for Australian growers, this situation is particularly worrying, and it is deeply unfair that Australian growers are being forced to contend with these counterfeit products when they already struggle to compete in many international markets on cost alone.”

“The dubious quality and origins of foreign product being passed off as Australian represents a real risk to the stellar reputation of our genuine product overseas, which is currently one of our major selling points.”

“Allowing this situation to continue could undo much of the hard work by industry and individual growers to establish a foothold in export markets, and all steps must be taken to stamp out these insidious practices.”


MEDIA CONTACT:  Michael Coote, AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0416 016 202, Email: