AUSVEG is backing the bill introduced yesterday into the Senate by Leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne, which seeks to overhaul Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling laws.

The Bill seeks to simplify food labelling claims, with Senator Milne stating yesterday that “current food labelling laws are just too confusing.”

“The present food labelling laws are a farce and Australian vegetable and potato growers would welcome any improvements aimed at making it easier for Australian consumers to confidently choose locally grown food, something which is currently very difficult to do,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson Hugh Gurney.

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

“Senator Milne highlighted that consumers want to support Australian farmers. Recent research conducted has shown that 80 per cent of consumers want to purchase Australian produce to support farmers and for our nation to have a viable food industry,” said Mr Gurney.
The legislation from the Greens would simplify Country of Origin Labelling to three claims: Product of or Grown in Australia; Manufactured in Australia; and Packaged in Australia.
“Current labelling claims, including the downright baffling ‘Made in New Zealand from Local and Imported ingredients’, provide consumers with no certainty whatsoever that the food they choose has been produced to the incredibly high standards of quality and safety as those seen in Australia,” said Mr Gurney.
Current labelling laws allow product from China to travel to New Zealand, be processed and sent onto Australia under the claim ‘Made in New Zealand from Local and Imported Ingredients’, a practice which Hort NZ Chief Executive Peter Silcock recently conceded does occur.
“The second largest exporter of frozen vegetables to Australia is China, where food safely scandals are daily news. Earlier this week, the BBC reported that meat from rats was being passed off as lamb. It is no surprise that Australians want to be able to easily choose locally grown products,” said Mr Gurney.
“AUSVEG appreciates the leading role that the Greens are taking on this issue and urges federal decision makers to get behind this initiative to provide Australian consumers with certainty surrounding the origin of the food that they eat,” said Mr Gurney.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney, Spokesperson, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388 Mobile: 0410 047 432 E-mail :