December 11, 2012
Unpacked beef, sheep and chicken meat will be subject to mandatory country of origin labelling following a government decision late last week. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing and Chair of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation Forum, Catherine King, said the move would benefit consumers and producers alike. “Consumers value knowing where their food has come from and being able to select products that support our Australian producers,” Mr Ludwig said. “That’s good news for consumers and even better news for Aussie producers.” Ms King said the decision will change consumer attitudes. “Consumers will have access to clear and accurate country of origin information on a wider range of products,” she said. “The decision removes the inconsistency in applying country of origin labelling across unpackaged beef, sheep and chicken meat, which was a concern raised in ‘Labelling logic’ – the report of the Blewett review of food labelling law and policy.” The decision extends the existing requirement for country of origin labelling on most packaged food and unpackaged fresh and processed fruit, vegetables, seafood and pork, and reinforces the Australian Government’s 2010 commitment to address community concern around the lack of country of origin information available to consumers about some unpackaged meat for sale in Australia, particularly beef. The new labelling requirements will come into effect mid–next year.