Consumers demand clear food labelling that will abolish misleading claims on where food is grown, an Auspoll consumer survey revealed today.

Australian consumers have overwhelmingly said that they do care which country their food is grown in and would support compulsory labelling on all unpackaged and packaged food that gives consumers information about exactly which country the food was grown in.

‘Consumers agree that using the terms Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients is very deceptive. When presented with a label like this many consumers think it means the food is grown in Australia. And it doesn’t mean this at all,’ Michael Badcock, AUSVEG Chairman said.

Consumers also supported the notion of a label that says Australian Grown for food that is 100% grown in Australia. They also supported the spelling out in percentage terms the proportion of the contents grown in Australia and the proportion grown overseas for mixed ingredient foods.

‘What is the point of having labelling on food that is confusing to consumers? At the moment if you don’t want to buy a food product that is from overseas, you can’t actually make this choice under the current labelling system,’ Michael Badcock said.

And consumers’ will be ignored again because the recommended changes to the food standards code proposed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will not address the fundamental problems.

‘It is a complete joke. Making it compulsory to label where a food is made is one thing, but if that label is ambiguous and doesn’t say where the food is grown, then it doesn’t help the consumers make a choice at all,’ Michael said.

As currently and proposed, if more than 50% of the value of any food product is added in Australia, it can be labelled ‘Made in Australia’ regardless of where the ingredients come from.

Unless the proposed changes to the Food Standards Code are rewritten to reflect a consumer’s right to choose it should not be supported and AUSVEG calls on the State and Federal ministers that will be voting on the food code in late October to do the responsible thing and demand that consumer’s rights are protected.

Euan Laird, AUSVEG CEO (03) 9544 8098: 0400 117007
Michael Badcock, AUSVEG Chairman 0438 282439

Link to: FSANZ Draft Assessment Report on Country-of-Origin Labelling of Food