Australia’s new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) changes were on display at a cooking demonstration at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Assistant Federal Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, took part in the demonstration, and called on business to follow the example of other businesses like Woolworths and commit to the labelling well ahead of the July 2018 deadline.
“Consumers deserve a clear view of where their food comes from,” Federal Minister Hartsuyker said.
“In October 2016, Woolworths said the new labelling reforms were great news and announced 25 of its own brand Fresh Cut products would carry the new label, including fine cut coleslaw, mixed leaf and rocket salad mix.
“Australians want to know where their food was made or packed, and how much was sourced from Australian farmers, and it’s great to see this information now being rolled-out into supermarkets.
“Australian produce has a reputation of being high-quality, clean and green, and consumers have a right to know what they are paying for.
“The changes make it clear imported goods cannot be claimed to be made in Australia just because of a change of their form or appearance here in Australia.
“I want to see more businesses involved now, with the rules mandatory from 1 July 2018.”
Woolworths Head of Sustainability, Adrian Cullen, said the company supported the labelling changes.
“Woolworths is a long-time supporter of Australian-made and grown products with 100 per cent of our fresh meat and 96 per cent of fruit and vegetables sourced from Australia,” Mr Cullen said.
“We firmly stand behind the new labelling reforms as we know our shoppers love to buy Australian products.
“We are working closely with our suppliers in Australia and overseas to ensure our products will carry the new Country of Origin Labelling ahead of the deadline.
“Currently we have over 120 Country of Origin labelled products with more to come shortly.
“Country of Origin Labels will make it clearer where an item has been produced, grown, made or packed, and will include the addition of an ‘Australian Made’ kangaroo logo.
“This system will make it easier to find Australian-made products, and understand what percentage of the ingredients are from Australia.”
There is an online tool available to help businesses identify appropriate labelling for their products.
The tool and a range of other information and support for business can be found at business.gov.au/foodlabels or by calling the contact centre on 13 28 46.
Federal Minister Hartsuyker also attended a Drones in Agriculture event at the Woolworths Food Farm, and said it highlighted how advanced modern farming had become.
“The Federal Government is helping ensure our farmers have access to cutting-edge research, technology, products and processes so they remain world class,” Federal Minister Hartsuyker said.
“Around $700 million each year is spent by the Federal Government on rural R&D and extension activities.
“Our funding is helping to design robots to harvest vegetable and tree crops, robots that can dose and spray individual weeds, and lasers to shuck oysters.”