Published on Jan 25, 2016

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With proposed country of origin labelling changes estimated to cost each food producing business $14,000, and with potential ongoing costs to industry in the order of $50 million per annum, businesses are urged to have their say.

Simplified country of origin labelling is well supported by consumers.  In a recent study it was found more than half of those surveyed would be willing to pay an extra 5 per cent on their food bill each week to cover some of the cost.

According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science the aim of the proposed changes is to make it clear “the proportion of Australian ingredients in food that is made, grown, produced or packaged in Australia.”  It would also eliminate confusion about the difference between ‘made in’ and ‘packed in’ claims.

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said ambiguity in country of origin labelling was an important issue for businesses and consumers.Country of origin labelling

“Through collaboration between governments, food businesses, retailers, farmers and consumers we have put together a set of positive reforms for the Australian food labelling system,” Minister Joyce said.

“We are looking to finally address an issue which has existed in the Australian food industry for a long time.

“That’s why it is important that everyone who is interested and has views on this is able to consider the proposals and to make a contribution.”

Businesses and consumers have until 29 January 2016 to submit feedback.  To comment on the proposed changes or to find out more about country of origin labelling, visit consult.industry.gov.au/cool-taskforce/cool.

What it means for business

The initial $14,000 estimated cost is broken down into time allocated to understanding the new regulations, staff training, IT costs and inventory planning.

Additional costs per stockkeeping unit (SKU) of packaged food are estimated at $6,245 per SKU and up to $1,300 per fresh food SKU.  Ongoing costs in a flexible labelling scheme are estimated at $2,813 per SKU on a 2.5 year cycle.

The level of labelling flexibility is a key element of the consultation for businesses.  Greater flexibility in the form of allowing an ‘at least’ statement about the proportion of Australian ingredients in products would be less costly than labels requiring specific proportions.

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Topic: Advance Cessnock City, consultation, food, legislation, wholesale