New Labels for Old – requirements for marketing food products in Australia to change by 2018

From 1 July 2016, new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) laws apply to food sold in retail stores in Australia. However, businesses will have time to adjust over a two-year transition period, meaning that food products packaged up until 1 July 2018 can be sold without the new labels.

There are different labelling requirements, depending on where the food was grown, produced, made or packaged. Most food grown, produced, made or packaged in Australia will need to carry a standard mark. The standard mark includes a bar chart and text showing the proportion of Australian ingredients by weight. If all of the food in a display or package was grown, produced or made in Australia, the mark will also include a kangaroo logo.

The information standard is accompanied by a Style Guide to help marketers understand the changes, which can be accessed here.

Imported food (food grown, produced, made or packaged in a country other than Australia) will need to carry a country of origin statement in a clearly defined box.

Some examples are below, but we recommend that manufacturers consult the Information Standard and Style Guide for full guidance.

Text Box: Made in Chile

Where imported food includes Australian ingredients, this can be shown voluntarily.

For packaged products, the labels must appear on each individual product. However, for unpackaged products such as fruit and vegetables, the label can appear anywhere on the product, or close to the product, for example on a shelf talker, hanging sign or display card. For non-retail sales, the seller of the food must provide the purchaser, on request, with information about the origins of the food or its ingredients, so that the purchaser can comply with the new information standard when on-selling the food to another purchaser, or selling another food that uses the food as an ingredient.

“Non-priority foods” are exempt from the new rules. These are defined as seasonings, confectionery, biscuits and snack food, bottled water, soft drinks and sports drinks, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages.

Penny Walsh - 7 July 2016

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