Published on Jul 11, 2017
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New food labelling laws
The Australian Government introduced new food labelling laws on 1 July 2016, making it clearer to consumers where the products they buy have been sourced.
The government has given businesses two years to adjust to the new labelling laws. If you sell food in retail stores in Australia, you still have until 30 June 2018 to ensure your food labels are correct.
The reasoning behind the new legislation is to meet consumer needs. Consumer decisions may be based on where a product is packaged, or where the ingredients are grown.
The label laws ensure the correct information about where a product is grown, produced, made and packaged is visible on the packaging.
The Country of Origin Food Labelling Research undertaken for the Department of Industry and Science in 2015 showed the majority of Australian consumers surveyed do check country of origin information when shopping. Combined with information such as price and quality, country of origin is a strong factor for consumption.
Businesses that sell goods with a high percentage of Australian ingredients also see the benefit of origin labelling but are concerned consumers do not understand how labelling works.
The survey found there is a high degree of confusion and/or cynicism about labelling among consumers. However, consumers have also expressed confusion over labelling such as ‘product of’ or ‘made in’. Most consumers can relate to labels which state ‘grown in’ or ‘packaged in’.
The additional costs for food businesses are also a concern. Time spent consulting the industry standards and money spent on new labels contribute to greater overheads for some businesses.
Businesses that are legally required to adopt the new labelling practices must provide this information clearly, accurately and in line with the style guide provided by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Styling your new labels:
If you need to update your labelling to meet the new law, there are a few style guidelines that your label design must follow depending on where your product is made and packaged.
Complying is easy:
- The ACCC has published a Labelling publication to help you determine when you can safely make claims about the country of origin of your product.
- The Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) online tool can help you determine what your labels should look like and can also help you generate your new labels.
- Business.gov.au has a webpage which shows you how your New Look Labels should look depending on your product origin.
The video below can help you produce compliant labels:
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