Fresh reports out of China claim that the situation for food safety in that country has taken a dive, with the food and drug regulator describing it as “grim”.

“The current situation in China with regards to food safety is weak at best, with insufficient regulation and monitoring systems that have been rocked by major scandals recently, including alleged tainted meat and baby food incidents,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Andrew White.

“We welcome the announcement by China’s food and drug regulator that they are looking into increasing ‘active’ regulation, but it is still worrying to us that these major lapses continue as China is one of Australia’s top vegetable importers,” said Mr White.

In 2013-2014 China was the third largest importer of vegetables to Australia, behind by New Zealand and Italy.

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

Considering the frightening nature of food scares overseas, Australians are becoming increasingly concerned about country of origin.

AUSVEG has long been an advocate for clearer Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws to make it easier for consumers to identify the origin of the product that they are purchasing.

“Australian consumers are being robbed of the ability to knowingly purchase locally grown vegetables because of lax Country of Origin Labelling laws that allow the misrepresentation of some products,” said Mr White.    

“Australian consumers now need to be as aware as possible of the origin of the product that they are feeding to their families.”

A Parliamentary Inquiry by the Federal Government to investigate CoOL has recently concluded and examined whether the current system is satisfactory, where improvements can be made, the current levels of compliance, and whether laws are being sidestepped by importers through third party countries, alleged in the past with New Zealand.

“In its submission to the Inquiry, AUSVEG suggested that country of origin labelling text be made larger was adopted into a recommendation by the Committee, and we see this as a step in the right direction,” said Mr White.

“If Australian consumers are to gain benefits from a reformed labelling system, claims must be simplified and unambiguous, with consumers able to tell at a glance the source of a product based on its ingredients.”

  Andrew White, AUSVEG Deputy CEO
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: