The Australian vegetable and potato industries are calling for consumers to be given certainty about the food they are eating once-and-for-all, through refined Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws.
AUSVEG will today appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Industry’s inquiry into this vital issue, and will be encouraging the Committee to ensure laws are strong enough to prevent produce of dubious origins being brought in to Australia with ambiguous labelling.
“Today’s appearance before the Committee will be an opportunity to reiterate consumer sentiment for buying Australian-made, as well as show support from the vegetable industry for reform of Country of Origin Labelling laws,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, William Churchill.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“We already know that 80 per cent of consumers want to buy Aussie-grown produce, and now it’s time to make sure we have a system in place for people to make informed purchasing decisions,” said Mr Churchill.
“China is already the second largest source of vegetable imports in to Australia, however, a trade deal between the Chinese and New Zealand governments also means New Zealand may import processed vegetables, repackage them as ‘Made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients’, and send them to Australia,” he said.
“It is situations such as these that demonstrate the need for a review of Country of Origin Labelling laws so consumers cannot be deceived by these products.”
“AUSVEG applauds the fact that this inquiry is being held and sees it as the first step in a process to bring all groups to the table to agree upon labelling changes that are the least intrusive to food manufacturers, but also allow for simple identification by consumers,” said Mr Churchill.
The Parliamentary Inquiry will investigate aspects of CoOL, including whether the current system is satisfactory, possible improvements, compliance levels and whether laws are being sidestepped by importers through third party countries.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, AUSVEG Communications and Public Affairs Manager.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0411 166 748, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org