AUSVEG is challenging Australia’s food processors,
manufacturers and importers to provide proof that improved Country of Origin
Labelling laws would place unreasonable cost burdens on their businesses and
consumers, in the wake of the Hepatitis health scare linked to imported Chinese

Since news of this alarming public health incident emerged,
AUSVEG has been vocal in calling for improved labelling laws which would
provide consumers with clear and unambiguous information about the origins of
the food they are consuming.

“Despite the groundswell of public support for improved
Country of Origin Labelling laws, there remains a reluctance to take decisive
action in some segments of the food business sector, which have pointed to
unreasonable costs as a barrier to a better system,” said AUSVEG spokesperson
Andrew MacDonald.

“To the disappointment of AUSVEG, even the Prime Minister
took this line in a media interview earlier this week.”        

“If cost is indeed the main reason that Australian consumers
are being deprived of the opportunity to know precisely where the food they are
consuming comes from, then we challenge manufacturers, processors and importers
to prove it with tangible evidence.”

“Food businesses regularly change their packaging to advertise
marketing campaigns, promotions and other initiatives, and we feel there is no
reason they could not do the same to reflect changes to the origins of

“You can’t put a cost on consumer protection and by failing
to act on Country of Origin, businesses and the government are doing precisely

“We are urging Australia’s food processors, manufacturers
and importers to do their duty as corporate citizens.”

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

For years AUSVEG has been calling for improvements to
Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling laws, but has been met with resistance
from some segments of the food business sector.

“The level of public concern generated by the Hepatitis
outbreak linked to imported frozen berries means the Country of Origin
Labelling issue can no longer be put in the ‘too hard basket’,” said Mr

Already, we have seen more than 10,000 people participate in
an online petition by consumer group CHOICE calling for the government to enact
stronger Country of Origin Labelling laws.

CHOICE is now seeking 15,000 petitioners via the link,, having easily surpassed its initial target of 5,000.


MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications

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