Trade commitments no barrier to stronger Country of Origin Labelling
Australia’s ‘trade obligations’ must not be used as an excuse for failing to implement a transparent and robust Country of Origin Labelling system which consumers and farmers so clearly crave.
An analysis by AUSVEG has revealed some of the world’s largest and most successful economies have implemented Country of Origin Labelling systems, without significant impacts on business and trade.
“Elements of the Australian food industry, who have been working for years to prevent a meaningful Country of Origin Labelling system being implemented, should not be allowed to hide behind claims that international trade obligations are a barrier to better laws that provide Australian consumers with clarity about where the food they are buying comes from,” said AUSVEG Deputy CEO Andrew White.
“The European Union, UK, USA, Canada, Japan and Russia, are all massive players on the world stage, and all have in place Country of Origin Labelling Systems of varying types.”
“Although the USA’s labelling system has been the subject of an action in the World Trade Organisation, the decision, which relates only to meat, is the subject of an appeal.”
“We also understand the relatively complicated nature of the USA’s labelling system has been a contributing factor to the dispute over meat, which is just another reason why Australia needs the clearest and most unambiguous and informative labelling laws possible.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
In the wake of the recent food scares linked to imported food products, AUSVEG has led a chorus of calls seeking better labelling laws, to provide consumers with clarity about the origins of the food they are buying and consuming.
“Given the clean and safe reputation of Australian produce, local growers are happy to comply with international Country of Origin Labelling laws to identify their produce in export markets,” said Mr White.
“There is no reason importers into Australia should not be equally willing to comply with stronger, clearer and more transparent laws here.”
“At the end of the day all we are asking for is transparency and truth in food labelling so that consumers can identify the origin of the major ingredients. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, AUSVEG Deputy CEO
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org