Katter proposes new labelling for imported produce

KAP leader and federal member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, is set to introduce the Imported Food Warning Labels Bill 2013 to the House of Representatives today.

The legislation aims to put the spotlight on imported food by labelling imported fresh produce and processed foods with this warning: WARNING: IMPORTED FOOD. THIS FOOD HAS NOT BEEN GROWN OR PROCESSED UNDER AUSTRALIAN HEALTH AND HYGIENE STANDARDS AND MAY BE INJURIOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.

Non-compliance could result in a $500,000 fine.

Katter said his proposed new labelling reforms would not only educate consumers of the health risks associated with eating imported foods, but could also drive Australians to buy locally and therefore support Australia's food manufacturing industry, which has struggled in recent times with a number of high profile brands collapsing.

The high Australian dollar, pressures from the supermarket duopoly and cheap imports have all been listed as contributing factors in the demise of brands including Rosella, Spring Gully and Cowra's Windsor Farm Food.

"Our orchardists are being forced to let their fruit rot on the ground and our iconic manufacturing processors are closing down because of the interminably increasing rivers of imported fruit and vegetables – from Brazilian juice concentrates to overseas tinned fruits that the supermarket giants favour in order to expand their private label range at the expense of Aussie businesses, farmers and jobs," said Katter.

"How can the supermarket giants continue to import fruit from other countries while the farmers and heroes of our great nation watch their fruit rot?"

Katter said he had no faith in Australia's biosecurity regime to protect Australia's agricultural industries from exotic pests and diseases, and said his proposed reforms could act as a warning for consumers.

"New Zealand has fire blight and therefore often sprays with streptomycin, which is quite rightly banned in Australia," he said.

"But there is currently no warning to Australian consumers, and both sides of Parliament should be ashamed of themselves, since both agreed to the apples coming into Australia."


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