World Health Day highlights need for better Country of Origin Labelling
Today’s World Health Day is just another demonstration of why Australia needs a better Country of Origin Labelling system and tougher checks on imported food.
With the theme of the April 7 World Health Organisation initiative focusing on food safety, the event is a timely reminder that Australia produces among the world’s cleanest, safest and highest quality vegetables and potatoes.
“Recent public health scares involving imported produce have thrust food safety front and centre in the psyche of Australian consumers and galvanised their preference for supporting Australian producers, and purchasing local produce,” said AUSVEG Deputy CEO Andrew White.
“The problem is that our current Country of Origin Labelling laws are not clear enough and don’t always allow consumers to exercise choice, and our imported food inspection scheme only screens the majority of imported fruit and vegetable consignments at a low rate of only five per cent.”
“The recent hepatitis health scare involving imported berries from China sparked a chorus of calls for stricter testing of imported produce and clearer Country of Origin Labelling to provide consumers with more accurate information about the food they are eating, and it is time for meaningful action.”
“AUSVEG appreciates the fact the government has recognised the overwhelming level of consumer support for action on this important issue, given around 26,000 Australians have written to Agriculture Minister the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP urging meaningful reform of Country of Origin Labelling.”
“Australians are lucky that their farmers produce world-beating food products, and it is time we allow them to take full advantage of this fact with labelling laws that let them identify where the food they are buying and eating has been sourced from.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“We support the Australian Government consulting with consumers and industry in relation to improving Country of Origin Labelling and we look forward to seeing meaningful changes enacted by the Government following consideration by the Cabinet in August.”
Consumers can find out more information about the Government’s Country of Origin Labelling consultations and register their interest by visiting www.industry.gov.au/cool.
“Given World Health Day’s focus on food safety, there is no better time for key decision makers in the Federal Government to ensure Australians get the fully transparent Country of Origin Labelling system they are crying out for.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, AUSVEG Deputy CEO
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: email@example.com