Label change double standard puts food manufacturers to shame
AUSVEG is stepping up its pressure on food manufacturers who have dubiously suggested that changing Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling system would place an unreasonable cost burden on businesses by forcing them to alter labels to reflect ingredient changes.
A simple trip to the supermarket has revealed that food companies are already regularly changing their packaging as part of marketing campaigns promoting everything from Cricket World Cup sponsorship, gift card offers, discount deals, competitions and new packaging formats.
“What our research has revealed is just how easily and regularly a wide variety of companies selling food in Australia are changing the packaging of their products to promote their own interests, despite the seeming reluctance of some in the Australian food industry to support an improved Country of Origin Labelling system, which Australian consumers are so desperately crying out for,” said AUSVEG Deputy CEO Andrew White.
“What this highlights are the tremendous double standards being employed by those in the Australian food industry, who have lobbied hard to try to convince Australians that implementing a stronger Country of Origin Labelling system would result in an unreasonable cost burden to business and consumers, when the reality is this is simply not the case.”
“If food manufacturers are so willing to regularly change their packaging to promote new marketing initiatives, then there is no reason they can’t do the same to reflect changes to ingredients, and the countries of origin of various commodities.”
“We note also that an earlier call by AUSVEG for food manufacturers to provide tangible proof that strengthened Country of Origin Labelling would place an unreasonable cost burden on consumers has been met with deafening silence. While this is disappointing, it is not surprising.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
In the wake of the health scare linked to the imported frozen berries from China, AUSVEG has led a chorus of calls pushing for improvements to Country of Origin Labelling, and for greater scrutiny to be applied to food imports into Australia.
“What AUSVEG would like to see is the elimination of confusing terms such as ‘made from local and imported ingredients’ from labels, and for consumers to be able to unambiguously tell at a glance, the origins of the food they are buying and consuming,” said Mr White.
“There are laws to this effect already drafted and introduced to the Federal Parliament. Now we just need the parties to come together and vote for them, for the good of farmers and consumers.”
“An improved labelling system would have the additional benefit of enabling Australian growers to compete on a level playing field against the tide of cheap, inferior, and potentially dangerous imports.”
“Australian consumers have repeatedly indicated that wherever possible they would prefer to purchase Australian produce, and it is time we gave them the opportunity to make that choice by improving our Country of Origin Labelling laws.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org