Tasmanian growers welcome support for clearer food labelling
AUSVEG has welcomed the commitment from the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, to reform Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws.
Speaking from Launceston where he spent the week visiting growers and discussing the labelling issue, AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy said he was pleased to see the government supporting changes to Country of Origin Labelling, which is an issue that AUSVEG has campaigned on for many decades.
“This is something that Australian growers have been wanting for a very long time and it is encouraging to finally see such a powerful show of support across the political landscape for this cause,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“Current labelling is extremely ambiguous, with terms such as ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ misleading Australian consumers about the real origins of the food they are consuming.”
“The public deserve to know what they are putting in their shopping trollies and we know from numerous consumer surveys that the vast majority of Australians want better information to allow them to make a more informed purchasing decision regarding country of origin.”
The renewed push for strengthened Country of Origin Labelling laws comes in the wake of a Hepatitis A health scare linked to imported frozen berries from China, which has also sparked calls for greater scrutiny to be applied to imported produce entering Australia.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
Mr Mulcahy spent the week speaking with farmers in Tasmania who have expressed strong support for an improved country of origin labelling system.
“Tasmanian produce is subject to some of the most stringent testing in the world. Stronger country of origin labelling will create a more even playing field for Australian growers so that they can compete against cheaper, inferior imported produce,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“The Prime Minister’s comments supporting clarity on labelling are welcome and AUSVEG looks forward to working with all political parties to ensure we have a system that will address industry concerns and ensure a fair go for Australian growers,” said Mr Mulcahy.
AUSVEG has strongly supported a current Australian Greens bill before Parliament which provides strong recognition for Australian-grown produce and is grateful to Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne for her unwavering commitment in the push for clearer labelling laws.
AUSVEG is still waiting to see a strong show of support from the Australian Labor Party on the issue of Country of Origin Labelling after AUSVEG challenged the party’s Leader Bill Shorten to stand up for better labelling laws earlier this week.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org