Country of origin survey closes tomorrow

The government’s country of origin labelling online survey for consumers closes tomorrow, 3 July.

Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said regional and rural Australians had been raising country of origin issues with her for the entire decade she’d been in parliament.

“Country of origin labelling is an issue many rural and regional Australians are extremely passionate about,” Minister Nash said.

“Australians know our local produce is the cleanest and greenest on the planet. Our farmers grow their food to strict environmental conditions and pay good money for labour.

“I think most people believe Australians have a right to accurate, clear and concise labels on their food.

“The online country of origin labelling survey allows consumers to choose which format they think is best for the new labels, or to make their own suggestions.

“If consumers want a say in country of origin labelling, here is the opportunity.”

The survey puts forward six country of origin label designs, each which display the amount of local ingredients in different ways.

The government has completed a two month industry consultation process, and are now asking for consumer feedback.

The online survey can be found on the Department of Industry and Science website.

 

Australian Made launch campaign for the kangaroo logo

While the government is hard at work on a mandatory country-of-origin symbol, Australian Made is reminding consumers of the green kangaroo.

Last week, the Australian Government put six Country of Origin label designs to the public in an online survey.

Only one of the six designs featured the Australian Made, Australian Grown kangaroo logo.

Australian Made is campaigning to remind consumers that until the mandatory country-of-origin symbol is introduced, the Australian Made, Australian Grown kangaroo logo will remain Australia’s only registered country-of-origin certification trade mark for the full range of locally made and grown goods. 

The campaign will see the Australian Made, Australian Grown kangaroo logo with the ‘genuine Aussie’ tagline on billboards, shopping centre displays, print, radio and online advertisements all over Australia this season, to encourage consumers to turn to the logo to verify locally made and grown goods when shopping.

“We hope this campaign will help prompt consumers to look for the logo at point-of-sale,” said Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison.

“It is evident that consumers are keen to back local industry and local jobs, but importantly, they are recognising the value in locally made and grown products and produce,” Harrison said.

The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is used by more than 2200 businesses on over 15,000 genuine Aussie products sold in Australia and around the world.

The Australian Government consulted with industry – including growers, processors and retailers for two months and has is now asking for consumer feedback.

 

6 Country of Origin Label designs put forward in community survey

The Australian Government has opened an online Country of Origin Labelling survey as part of its national consultation process.

The online survey was opened at 8am today (9 June) and will help design the Australian Government’s new labelling system.

The Australian Government has been consulting with industry – including growers, processors and retailers – to implement a clearer, more direct system for food labelling that will give consumers the information they want in a way that is easy to read and understand.

“We have completed a two month industry consultation process, and we are now asking for consumer feedback from the very shoppers who will be in the supermarket making use of the new labels,” said Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane.

“Consumers have told us loud and clear that they want more useful food labelling, and now we want to hear from them about which options they prefer.

“Based on our consultation sessions in major capital and regional cities, we have valuable industry information on how we can implement a system that is fair and transparent for consumers without adding extra costs to business.”

Macfarlane said the community survey and the Government’s market research data are crucial in defining the new framework, and this is the next step in finding a balance for industry and the consumer.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said the work to improve country of origin food labelling was to make sure Australians had clear and concise information about the food they buy.

“Many consumers and food producers feel strongly about the need for clearer country of origin labelling.” Joyce said.

“It’s important that people can make informed choices about the food they buy at their local supermarket. We want Australians to have confidence in knowing where their food is coming from.

“Australians have asked for simpler food labelling and the Government has listened; now is the chance for people to have their say on simpler and more logical ways to present the information.”

Out of the six ideas for the new labelling system, only one of them features the green-and-gold kangaroo.

The Australian Made Campaign, the not-for-profit organisation that administers and promotes the kangaroo logo, is calling on consumers to 'remember the roo'.

“We have been lobbying for clarity and consistency in food labelling for years now, and worked with the Government on the current proposal,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said.

“We strongly support action on food labelling and welcome the opportunity for consumers to have their say on the best system moving forward."

 

Australian Made urges the Government to “stay on course”

The Australian Made Campaign is urging the Australian Government not to get distracted by the USA’s country-of-origin regime.

 “The Australian Made Campaign strongly supports the call by AUSVEG for the Australian Government to continue on its path towards clearer and mandatory country-of-origin labelling,” Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said.

“Issues relating to the USA’s country-of-origin regime should have no bearing on the Australian Government’s stated intention to provide consumers with improved country-of-origin labelling here in Australia – it should not be distracted by a largely unrelated matter.”

“The WTO’s decision relating to the system introduced in the USA was more to do with complex requirements regarding the traceability of beef products than straightforward country-of-origin legislation,” Harrison said.

The not-for-profit Australian Made Campaign administers and promotes the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, Australia’s registered country-of-origin certification trade mark for all classes of Australian goods.

The rules for using the logo on food products are more stringent than the rules for making country-of-origin claims under Australian Consumer Law. The Australian Made Campaign has been lobbying for that gap to be closed, and an education program to be rolled out to help increase understanding of country-of-origin claims and the value proposition of buying Australian made and Australian grown products.

 

Final wording of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement to be known soon

The
full details of the Chinese-Australian Free Trade Agreement are expected to be
released before the end of June.

The ABC reports that the wording of the agreement, which had its negotiations
conclude last November, is being finalised.

Michael Clifton,
Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner in china, told ABC’s The Business, “My understanding is that we’re on track towards a signing
of the agreement, in the next six to eight weeks,” he said.

“And we would hope to see entry
into force before year’s end.”

The exact details of the agreement
have been a mystery since the November 17 signing. According to the office of trade minister Andrew Robb, finalisation was likely to be made before June’s end.

At the time of the signing, the federal government said
that “ChAFTA” would see 95 per cent of Australian exports to the People’s Republic eventually be
tariff-free, and wine and dairy to both be tariff-free after four years.

China is Australia’s biggest trading
partner, with two-way trade worth nearly $1600 billion in 2013-2014, according
to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Australia’s biggest export, by far,
was “iron ores and concentrates”, worth $57 billion. The number one import from
China was clothing, worth $5.1 billion.

Image: https://dfat.gov.au/

Family Business Australia and Australian Made form an alliance

Family Business Australia and the Australian Made Campaign have partnered to help foster business collaboration and offer improved access to resources.

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said that because both organisations shared the same goal of helping Australian family businesses achieve success, it made sense for the two organisations to be aligned.

“The more we collaborate to help support Aussie growers and manufacturers, the better their chances of succeeding will be – the Australian Made Campaign is very much a collective effort, so the more businesses involved, the stronger the impact,” Mr Harrison said.

“The Australian Made Campaign looks forward to working with Family Business Australia to help further strengthen the important contribution that family businesses make to the Australian economy and local communities.”

Family Business Australia Chief Executive, Robin Buckham, said “our organisations both work with a wide variety of Australian industries, and there are clear synergies we intend to expand on and develop.”

Leveraging heritage and country-of-origin branding can provide Australian businesses with powerful competitive advantages, and both organisations provide businesses with marketing tools to help them capitalise on those assets.

To find out more visit www.australianmade.com.au or www.fambiz.org.au.

 

Thomas Foods International lands Angus Beef deal

Australia’s Angus beef is set to hit the plates of many more consumers across the globe following an exclusive supply deal.

The country’s largest 100 percent Australian privately owned meat-processing company, Thomas Foods International and industry organisation Certified Angus Group (CAG) have signed an exclusive licensing deal to grow the national and international market for Angus beef.

From August 1, 2015, the brands CAAB (Certified Australian Angus Beef) and Angus Pure and Natural Beef will be produced under exclusive license to Thomas Foods International.

“This is a great opportunity to build on two established brands and expand sales of Angus beef to a global market hungry for premium meat,” Thomas Foods International chief executive officer Darren Thomas said.

“We see enormous potential to grow markets for Angus beef across Australia, the United States, Europe and Asia.

“We have a long standing and proud association with Angus beef. Capitalising on our established markets and distribution networks we can now take it to the next level.

“Under this arrangement with CAG we expect to increase our throughput of premium Angus beef four-fold over the first 12 months alone.

“Thomas Foods International has invested significantly in state-of-the-art processing facilities so we’re well placed to meet the market’s growing appetite for Angus beef.”

This recent investment includes a new $25 million beef boning facility at Murray Bridge and an upgraded feedlot at Tintinara, both in South Australia.

Thomas Foods International sources its Angus beef from farms across Australia. It is processed and packaged at facilities in South Australia and New South Wales with distribution hubs located at Adelaide, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Darwin and in the United States. Thomas Foods International has been a processing partner with CAG for eight years.

Chief executive officer of CAG Ms Kate Brabin said the landmark license for the brands is for five years to 2020 and represented a great deal for members of Angus Australia.

‘We are very excited about the future for our brands under exclusive license to Thomas Foods International,” Brabin said.

“The move to exclusivity on both brands presents a wonderful opportunity to further grow the brands domestically and in international markets. The future of the brands is in safe hands.”

 

Australian Made helping to connect business with business

The Australian Made Campaign has launched the ‘Australian Made Business-to-Business (B2B) Portal’—an interactive resource hub for Australian businesses. The portal can be used to search for certified Australian Made products with a B2B application and access exclusive business opportunities available only to Australian manufacturers and growers.

The centrepiece of the Australian Made B2B Portal is an online connection point for buyers and suppliers of Australian products. Powered by Industry Capability Network (ICN) Gateway, it will enable suppliers to search for project opportunities and register their company's interest in just a few easy steps. It also offers a sophisticated supplier search functionality for procurement professionals and project managers.

“The Australian Made B2B Portal will link manufacturers with major projects opportunities while also providing access to a range of useful initiatives to help sell their genuine Aussie products,” said Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison.

“We know Australian growers and manufacturers are ready and willing to work hard to expand their network of customers, and this portal takes the guesswork out of how to go about doing that.”

Eligible businesses can also register interest in tendering for projects, and be considered for inclusion in Australian Made branded stores throughout Australian airports and in export markets around the world. A range of adverting and promotional discounts are also available.

The Australian Made Campaign is working with ICN as part of the Federal Government's Buy Australian at Home and Abroad initiative.

“The Australian Made Business-to-Business Portal aims to provide local growers and manufacturers with improved and ongoing access to upcoming opportunities, and increase the quota of genuine Australian products and produce being procured,” Mr Harrison said.

“We encourage all buyers and suppliers to visit the portal to find out more about how it can benefit them.”

The Australian Made Business-to-Business Portal can be found at www.australianmade.com.au.

Image: https://www.findtheneedle.co.uk/

 

Hepatitis A scare pushes up demand for fresh Australian berries

South Australia’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market has witnessed a stark increase in demand for Australian produced fresh blueberries and raspberries, following the Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Adelaide Produce Market, which collectively supplies wholesale volumes of fresh produce to supermarkets, greengrocers, cafes and other food service providers has reported that demand for blueberries in the past week has doubled, while demand for raspberries has increased by 50 percent.

"You just can't beat Australian grown fresh produce. Unlike the imported cheap, inferior frozen produce from overseas, we know exactly how our fresh produce was grown, when it was picked and how it was transported along the supply chain," Adelaide Produce Market CEO Angelo Demasi said.

Demasi said that it is unfortunate that during times of disaster, consumers only come to cherish and appreciate how good the produce grown in Australia really is.

"We are global leaders in producing premium fresh fruits and vegetables, so consuming cheap imported frozen produce doesn't make sense. We have no idea how it was produced and what quality control measures are in place," he said.

Blueberry supply will shorten slightly in coming weeks due to seasonal factors; however raspberry supply is expected to increase as the local season continues to strengthen.

13 cases of Hepatitis A in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and WA have been linked to frozen raspberries imported from China and repackaged by Bairnsdale-based Patties Foods.

Patties faces a class action suit, as Slater and Gordon is encouraging those who contracted Hepatitis A after eating the berries to come forward.

The Department of Agriculture has formally requested a review of the risk status of frozen berries from FSANZ and is seeking assurances from China about the safety of further shipments of frozen berries.

Products included in the recall are: Nanna’s Raspberries 1kg, Nanna’s Mixed Berries 1kg and Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g and 500g.

 

Xenophon calls for a review of Australia’s imported food safety regime

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called for an urgent independent review of Australia’s imported food safety regime in the wake of the widening hepatitis-A outbreak linked to frozen berries from China.

In addition, Senator Xenophon will be moving for a parallel Senate inquiry into the issue, with the aim of an interim report being provided within a month.

Xenophon said the outbreak undermined the confidence Australians placed in the safety of the $13.9 billion in imported food each year (2014 – ABS).

“This is a serious and widening outbreak of illness apparently caused by basic hygiene failures in China. These berries were considered ‘low risk’ but failed the most basic of health checks – carrying a bacteria common in faecal matter. Our entire imported food surveillance and risk management system, conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), must be independently reviewed so as to fix any systemic problems and clear the air,” Xenophon said.

“For example, the Government does not test for bacterial infections of foods, as part of its spot-checks of 5 per cent of low risk food imports. Our system is almost entirely reactive, in that it tests five per cent of food products as the enter the country. We should be looking at issuing permits to export to Australia, so that adequate sanitation and health checks can be carried out in advance.”

Senator Xenophon also said that the hepatitis-A outbreak strengthened the need for “unambiguous country-of-origin labelling laws. Currently you can call something ‘made in Australia’ so long as 51 per cent by value (including processing) was done in Australia – that’s nowhere near good enough for consumers to make an informed choice,” said Nick.

He said that a suitable independent review could run in parallel with a Senate inquiry by the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee, and he was preparing draft terms of reference.

“This is a red flag that none of us can ignore. I wrote today to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce requesting an independent review, while a Senate Inquiry will take a wide-ranging look at the health risks associated with the multi-billion dollar imported food sector,” said Nick.

The Greens party and Nick Xenophon have renewed focus on country-of-origin labelling by reintroducing a food labelling Bill on Thursday (18 Feb), before the berry recall was issued.

In response to the recall, Australian-Made has issued a warning to check country-of-origin labelling while Choice called on the Federal Government to take action on stricter country-of-origin labelling.

Eight people have been confirmed to have contracted the virus after eating frozen mixed berries, including three cases in Victoria, two in NSW, and the three Queensland cases reported on Monday.

 

Food labelling bill reintroduced to parliament

The Greens party and Nick Xenophon have renewed focus on country-of-origin labelling by reintroducing a food labelling Bill.

Australian Made Campaign chief executive, Ian Harrison said “The current issue with imported frozen berries highlights the need for clearer country-of-origin labelling, as it appears consumers may have been confused about where they came from.”

The “frozen berry issue” refers to the recall of four products distributed by Patties Foods was triggered after people reportedly contracted Hepatitis A after eating Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berries.

Australian-Made has issued a warning to check country-of-origin labelling while Choice called on the Federal Government to take action on stricter country-of-origin labelling.

Australian Made Campaign chief executive, Ian Harrison said “While we welcome the reintroduction of this Bill, the Government is yet to announce its decisions on the food labelling enquiry undertaken last year by the House of Representatives Senate Committee on Agriculture and Industry. It would make sense to complete that review before commencing yet another one,” Harrison said.

For a number of years the Australian Made Campaign has been calling for the regulations under Australian Consumer Law to fall into line with the more stringent rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, thereby eradicating critical loopholes that currently exist.

“The Australian Made Campaign supports – and in fact originated – the proposal to draw up regulations to clarify the concept of ‘substantial transformation’ and to specify processes which, by themselves, do not satisfy this test,” Mr Harrison said.

“The proposal to label food in such a way that highlights significant ingredients – ‘Made in Australia from Australian milk’ for chocolate, for example – as long as all requirements for a ‘Made in Australia’ claim are met, makes good sense as well.

“We still cannot however support the Bill in its current form. We do not see the value in banning the claims ‘Australian Made’ or ‘Made in Australia’ for food products in favour of the equivalent terms ‘Australian Manufactured’ or ‘Manufactured in Australia’.”

Mr Harrison said that a continual point of confusion for consumers was the use of qualified claims such as ‘Made in Australia from imported and local ingredients’. The Australian Made Campaign opposes the use of qualified claims unless the product satisfies the full ‘Made in’ test.

“Australian consumers have the right to know where their food has been made and grown, and it is important that we strengthen country-of-origin labelling for the benefit of Australia’s farmers and manufacturers as well – it is a vital asset in these trade-exposed sectors.”

Choice has criticised the current system, saying the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry missed an opportunity to simplify it.

Choice has called for the following changes:

  • ‘Product of Australia’ or “Australian produce” = significant ingredients and virtually all processing to be from the country claimed
  • ‘Manufactured in Australia’ = Relating solely to manufacturing
  • ‘Packaged in Australia’ = Relates solely to manufacturing
  • Consumer testing of any changes to ensure they are meaningful

Consumers with enquiries can call the Patties Consumer Hotline, 1800 650 069, between 7am and 9pm.

 

China: Country of origin needs to be an important focus

The Australian Made Campaign has welcomed the Government’s
moves to expand Australia’s access to the burgeoning Chinese market.

“A China-Australia Free Trade Agreement makes real sense
when you look at the scale of the Chinese market and its growth trajectory,”
said Ian Harrison, Chief Executive of the not-for-profit Australian Made
Campaign.

“While some industries will gain more and some will always
miss out in any of these types of deals, manufacturers of premium quality
Australian products, and of course our food producers, should enjoy significant
benefits, just as our resource industries have in recent years.”

The Australian Made Campaign is encouraging current and
prospective exporters to China to aggressively leverage country-of-origin
branding in their marketing and sales strategies.

“Australia has a great reputation as a supplier of high
quality, healthy, safe products and produce. This can often lead to a premium
price in the marketplace for genuine Aussie products, and that is why
country-of-origin branding is so important,” Mr Harrison said.

“The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo has been helping
sell Aussie products in export markets for nearly three decades, particularly
Asian markets.

Furthermore, it is a registered certification trade mark in
China, and this gives vital protection, under Chinese law, for goods authorised
to carry the symbol.”

The Australian Made Campaign recently licensed ‘Australia
Made Shop Pty Ltd’ to use the green-and-gold kangaroo as branding for a chain
of stores across China that sell only genuine Aussie products, all of which
must be certified to carry the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo.

“This initiative will provide a significant
channel to the Chinese market for many Australian manufacturers and producers,
building on the benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement,” Mr
Harrison said.

Image: https://www.australianmade.com.au/

The case for country of origin branding

Provenance is increasingly important to consumers in Australia – more and more they are becoming interested in where the food they are buying has come from.

This reflects a growing awareness of health and safety issues surrounding what we eat and also the positive consequences of ‘buying local’; and driven by concerns about health and safety, the issue of provenance is even more pronounced amongst the bourgeoning Asian middle class.

This is all good news for Australia’s farmers, manufacturers and food processors because there is no question being Aussie is an advantage in the marketplace. Our clean, green image, coupled with the recognition of our high health and safety standards for growing and processing food, gives the ‘Australian brand’ a flying start in the marketplace.

Research shows that country of origin branding has a direct impact on purchasing behaviours – both here and overseas. While many Aussie businesses are competing against cheaper products, particularly in the Asian marketplaces, those selling genuine Aussie products have a card up their sleeve that can help them get ahead – and that is country of origin branding. There is very often a premium that consumers will pay for genuine Aussie products and getting this can be crucial for our exporters and import competitors alike.

Aggressive country of origin branding can also reinforce corporate philosophies – boosting staff morale and demonstrating corporate social responsibility. It can open up new business opportunities when tendering for government contracts and major projects.

The green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo is the only registered, certification trade mark in Australia across all 34 classes of goods. It instantly establishes the connection of the product carrying it with Australia; and this happens both here and overseas.

According to Roy Morgan Research, over 98 percent of Australians recognise the logo, and 89 percent trust it to identify genuine locally made and grown goods. Research by YSC Online also found that products carrying the logo in export markets were more likely to have increased sales than those which did not.

Today more than 2,000 Australian businesses are registered to use the logo on over 15,000 products sold here and around the world. Indeed for many small businesses involved in export, the logo, with its proven, established links to Australia, becomes their strongest brand in the marketplace.

The same can also be said for state, territory and local government branding activities overseas, where the AMAG logo creates the overarching connection to Australia and therefore the framework for their ‘sub-brand’.

The Australian Made Campaign has welcomed the private industry initiative being championed by Andrew Forrest of Fortescue Metals Group – the Australian Sino Hundred Year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership (ASA 100), to position Australia as a primary food and fibre supplier to China. The ASA 100 proposal, with its emphasis on a collaborative, cohesive approach to export marketing incorporating a single brand and a single logo, is a fantastic opportunity for consistency in labelling and a global approach for our food exporters.

The idea of the public and private sectors working together to build the global impact of ‘brand Australia’ is an exciting one. The power of consistent branding, both here and overseas, cannot be overstated. There is definitely a pivotal role for the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo in that strategy.

It is also important to be aware of the legal requirements. All country of origin claims must meet the following criteria:

• Australian Made: The product has been substantially transformed (made) in Australia and at least 50 percent of the production cost has been incurred in Australia.
• Australian Grown: All significant ingredients are grown in Australia and all significant (if any) processing has been carried out in Australia.
• Product of Australia: All significant ingredients come from Australia and all or almost all of the manufacturing/processing has been carried out in Australia.
• Australian Seafood: All significant ingredients are grown/harvested in Australia and all significant (if any) processing has been carried out in Australia.

It is also important to note that, for food products, the rules for using the AMAG logo with an ‘Australian Made’ claim are more stringent than those applying under the government’s Australian Consumer Law. A stricter set of criteria about what actually constitutes ‘substantial transformation’ was introduced several years ago to reduce any confusion about a food product’s true country of origin.

It is for this reason that consumers look for the AMAG logo when they shop so they can be sure that they are buying genuine Aussie products and produce.

 

Australian Made campaign launches in SA

Australian Made, the campaign which promotes Australia’s country of origin certification trademark, is launching in South Australia.

“South Australia is a hub for manufacturing and growing in Australia, and this initiative will help to promote and support local industry,” said Australian Made Campaign chairman, Glenn Cooper.

Glenn Cooper is also the chairman of Coopers Brewery, and has the Australian Made logo on the company’s beers.

“We’ve found the logo to be very helpful in letting our customers know that our beers, like our company, are 100 percent Australian and it has proved to be an excellent marketing tool for us,” he said.

Business SA membership executive, Nick Smith, is taking on the role of SA account manager for the Australian Made Campaign, and will work within Business SA to help educate manufacturers and growers about the benefits of leveraging country of origin as a marketing tool.

According to Roy Morgan Research, it is recognised and trusted by 98 percent and 88 percent of Australians respectively to identify genuine Australian goods.

The logos:

  • Australian Made: The product has been made in Australia and over 50 per cent of the cost of production cost has been incurred in Australia.
     
  • Australian Grown: All significant ingredients are grown in Australia and almost all processing carried out in Australia.
     
  • Product of Australia: All of the product’s significant ingredients come from Australia and almost all of the manufacturing/processing has been carried out in Australia.
     
  • Australian Seafood: All significant ingredients are grown/harvested in Australia and almost all processing carried out in Australia.
     

Australian Made calls for mandatory country of origin labelling

In light of a recent announcement from FSANZ, the Australian Made Campaign has renewed its call for mandatory country of origin labelling across all food products.

According to Australian Made, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) were instructed to develop a proposal to extend country-of-origin labelling across all primary food products for retail sale as part of the government’s response to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy in 2011.

However it was revealed this week that mandatory country of origin will not be extended to a small range of unpackaged foods including game meats, poultry other than chicken, eggs and cheese.

CEO of Australian Made, Ian Harrison, said that the he was disappointed the proposal had been scrapped .

“Food labelling requirements should be clear, straightforward and above all consistent – all food, packaged or unpackaged, should be required to carry a country-of-origin label,” said Harrison.

“Why should fresh chicken, for example, have to carry a country-of-origin label, but not duck or quail? Why should sliced ham have to carry a country-of-origin label, but not sliced cheese?”

“Consumers want to be able to buy with confidence, and a big part of this is knowing where their food comes from,” Mr Harrison said.

The Australian Made Campaign has called for mandatory country-of-origin labelling across all food products in numerous submissions, including to the current House of Representatives inquiry into food labelling.

 

Retailers need better labelling education: A&PA

Retailers need to be better educated about country-of-origin labelling education from state and local governments, Apple and Pear Australia Limited has told a parliamentary inquiry.

Apple and Pear Australia Limited industry services manager Annie Farrow said while Australia’s supermarkets, in particular Coles and Woolworths, were “very good” at adhering to labelling laws introduced in 2006, there were “hundreds and hundreds of greengrocers (where) those rules aren’t being enforced”, The Weekly Times reports.

Farrow was giving evidence at a House of Representatives agriculture standing committee inquiry in Melbourne looking into country-of-origin food labelling.

Farrow told the inquiry she visited three green grocers last Thursday and “two had abso­lutely no mention anywhere where their products came from” while the third had three categories labelled from an offering of almost 30.

“We’re not after policemen to go out there and reprimand or fine retailers for not labelling properly,” she said. “But there should be greater effort put on educating retailers.

“Consumers want to know where their products come from.”

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said as the enforcement agency under the code, councils had “a legislated responsibility” to crack down on retailers flouting the rules.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce earlier this year said the inquiry was prompted by widespread misinterpretation of the terms “Made in Australia”, “Product of Australia” and “Made from Australian and imported ingredients”.

In May, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) said it is willing to work with stakeholders to help meet community expectations for country of origin labelling.

CEO Gary Dawson has 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 Australian-Made campaign said they welcomed the country-of-origin inquiry when it was announced, and then gave evidence at the inquiry on 8 May.

Australian Made’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.

 

Australian Made to launch “Get The Australian Advantage” campaign

The
Australian Made Campaign is launching an initiative to promote country of
origin labelling tomorrow.

The
campaign, which is the only in Australia administering the Australian Made,
Australian Grown logo, will launch “Get The Australian Advantage”, which will
run throughout next month.

“Research shows that country-of-origin branding has a direct
impact on purchasing behaviours, in Australia and overseas – and our reputation
for making and growing products and produce is strong on both fronts,” said the
organisation’s chief executive, Ian Harrison, in a statement.

“The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is by far the
most recognised and trusted country-of-origin symbol for Australia, so we are
encouraging businesses to use the logo in their marketing efforts, providing of
course that their products are eligible.”

The AMAG logo will celebrate its 28th anniversary this year. The non-profit AMC is funded by the licence fees members
pay to display the distinctive logo.

Harrison
describes the logo as a great asset for manufacturers and primary producers,
and worth including in a company’s marketing efforts.

“We are urging businesses to ‘Get the Australian Advantage’
by leveraging this powerful marketing tool,” he said.

For more on Australian Made, click here.

Australian Made campaign announces a new chairman

Glenn Cooper, executive chairman of South Australian icon Coopers Brewery, has been announced as the new chairman of Australian Made campaign.

The Australian Made campaign is the not-for-profit organisation that administers the green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo. The organisation is directed by a national board consisting of ten directors who in turn are elected by the Australian Business community from the Australian Chamber of Commerce Network and the National Farmers’ Federation.

Allyn Beard, marketing director of Sydney based mattress manufacturer A.H. Beard, was elected as deputy chairman, and Neil Summerson was re-elected as treasurer.

Australian Made campaign’s chief executive, Ian Harrison said “Australian Made welcomes Mr Cooper to the position and we look forward to his leadership in directing this very important campaign to help businesses promote their genuine Aussie products both locally and internationally,”

Cooper has served on the Australian Made campaign Board of Directors for seven years.

“I am very passionate about local manufacturing and look forward to working with my Board colleagues and the team at AMCL over the next few years to lift the profile of this important campaign even further,” Cooper said following his election. “The famous Aussie Made logo is a very valuable tool for Australian consumers and businesses – our job is to spread that message.”

The full Board of Directors now consists of:

  • Glenn Cooper AM (Chairman), Executive Chairman, Coopers Brewery Ltd (Adelaide)
  • Allyn Beard (Deputy Chairman), MD, A.H. Beard Pty Ltd (Sydney)
  • Neil Summerson FCA (Treasurer), Director and Former Chairman, Bank of Queensland (Brisbane)
  • Peter Anderson, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) (Canberra)
  • Nicki Anderson, MD, Demo Plus (Melbourne)
  • Alf Cristaudo, Former Chairman of Canegrowers Australia (Townsville)
  • Robert Gerard AO, Executive Chairman, Gerard Corporation Pty Ltd (Adelaide)
  • David Gray AM (Chairman), MD, David Gray & Co. Pty Ltd (Perth)
  • Robert Hutchinson, State Manager, Queensland, ParexDavco (Australia) Pty Ltd (Brisbane)
  • Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research (Melbourne)

Earlier this month, the Australian Made campaign appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry in Canberra and gave 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.

 

Labelling laws are unfair and confusing: Australian Pork

Australian Pork Limited (APL) has presented evidence at the inquiry into country of origin food labelling, saying labelling laws are unfair and confusing to consumers.

APL said the labelling laws make it impossible for consumers to choose local ham and bacon, ABC Rural reports.

APL chief executive Andrew Spencer said the pork industry wants the 'substantial transformation' definition, which allows imported products to be labelled as Australian as long as they are 'substantially transformed' in Australia, to be reviewed.

"The Australian Made/Australian Grown logo code of practice, for example, does not allow the use of the 'Australian Made' logo on imported bacon or ham, due to consumer confusion over its meaning, and we believe that regulated claims need to be similarly changed," Spencer told the hearing.

Spencer said the Australian pork industry is a world leader on initiatives regarding animal welfare and environmental management, product safety and biosecurity, but labelling laws mean they're not able to capitalise on consumer demand for those production processes.

"Today's country of origin labelling laws make consumer-informed choice almost impossible, which helps perpetuate 70 percent of Australia's ham and bacon consumption being made from imported pork, a fact of which most consumers remain unaware," Spencer said.

But the manager of the Industry Department's trade facilitation section, Lyndall Milward-Bason, told the hearing that the labels themselves are not misleading.

"When the consumer agencies did a campaign in 2012-13 as to whether or not there was any systemic falsification of origin claims, or misleading claims, they did find minimal evidence of any falsification," she said.

"If someone could come up with a formula that would do better [that would be considered]. We've had some suggestions come through the Senate, and they've had some fundamental flaws in those proposals.

"That's why the processes we're going through aren't about changing regulation, or new regulation, or additional regulation, it's about education of the consumers through new guidance material and, if necessary, an education campaign."

Milward-Bason said a lot of complaints that come through the minister’s office are people thinking that if a label says a product is Australian, it should be 100 percent Australian, otherwise they’ve been misled.

"So that's an expectation, and from an industry point of view, that's just not possible. There are many foods produced in this country that are not 100 percent Australian," she said.

"If you made a regulation that said you could only say 'Australian' if it was 100 percent Australian, you'd probably wipe out most of the food processors in this country."

The Australian-Made campaign gave evidence at the inquiry yesterday (8 May).

The 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.”

 

Australian Made gives evidence at country-of-origin labelling inquiry

The Australian Made Campaign appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry in Canberra this morning 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.

“Food products with high levels of imported content which undergo simple processing in Australia cannot use the green-and-gold Australian Made logo, and neither should they be able to claim that they were manufactured here under Australian Consumer Law.

“Consistent food labelling laws would provide consumers with greater certainty in the choices they make at the checkout, and support growers and manufacturers of genuine Aussie products.”

A number of Australian food processors including SPC Ardmona, Simplot and McCain have sighted the steady influx of cheap imported products together with confusing country-of-origin labelling as key factors that have  affected their market share and profitability.

“We are thrilled that this inquiry is being conducted within the House of Representatives structure – the seat of Government – because there is great potential for positive changes to be made,” Mr Harrison said.

Further evidence by other interested parties will be heard in Sydney tomorrow.