Home > Country-of-origin labelling should be revised without government regulation, AFGC

Country-of-origin labelling should be revised without government regulation, AFGC

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Peak industry group for the Australian grocery sector, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has said that it is willing to work with stakeholders to help meet community expectations for country of origin labelling.

The industry group opposed changes to country-of-origin labelling before parliament last year, however, CEO Gary Dawson has now said that there could be an opportunity to re-work current terms such as “grown in and product of”, to increase community understanding without developing a new network of regulation, The Weekly Times reports.

He pointed to the recent example of SPC Ardmona’s resurgence as proof that government regulation of labelling was not necessary.

“Where (country of origin) is a driver of consumer preference, companies will incorporate it into their marketing and promotion. The most recent example of that was SPC,” Dawson told a parliamentary hearing into labelling laws.

“Regulatory changes were not required in that case. If it is not a driver of consumer preference and, therefore, not of great interest, then there is a question over how far you should go with regulation.”

On the other side of the coin, the Australian Made Campaign appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committeeon Agriculture and Industry in Canberra earlier this month to give evidence to into its country of origin food labelling inquiry.

The Australian Made campaign’s chief executive Ian Harrison, together with compliance and policy manager Lisa Crowe, made recommendations to the committee on how food labelling laws could be improved to support Australian growers and manufacturers.

Harrison and Crowe stated that an effective country-of-origin labelling system that is both understood and trusted by consumers, will help combat companies that are “attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin.”

“Today we again recommended that the regulations under Australian Consumer Law fall into line with the more stringent rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, thereby eradicating some of the loopholes that currently exist,” Harrison said.

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