Protecting Aussie prawns and Australian-grown and made

ACCC on the prowl to ping anyone not complying with new labelling laws.

ACCC on the prowl to ping anyone not complying with new labelling laws

When is an Australian crumbed prawn not an Australian crumbed prawn?

Under old food-labelling laws, if the prawn was imported but crumbed in Australia, it could be regarded as an Australian crumbed prawn. That has not been the case for almost 12 months and from 1 July, retailers and producers who still ‘twist’ the truth will be on notice.

For anyone who tries to buy Australian-grown or Australian-made food products, life should be about to get easier. Who hasn’t been caught out by confusing labelling, such as orange juice that is bottled in Australia from locally grown and imported fruit or juice?

From Sunday, mandatory country of origin food labelling laws will be enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which will have officials prowling the shelves to ensure that producers are fully compliant.

The ACCC says it will conduct market surveillance checks on 10,000 food products to ensure businesses are correctly displaying the new labels.

All businesses – manufacturers, processors and importers that offer food for retail sale in Australia – will have to comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard, which sets out how claims can be made about the origin of food products.

The new requirements will apply to most food offered for retail sale in Australia, although it does not apply to food sold in restaurants, cafés, take-away shops and schools.

“Consumers should look out for the new labels if they want to find out where their food is grown, produced, made or packed, so they can make an informed decision about the food they buy,” said Deputy Chair Mick Keogh.

“We’ve been providing guidance for businesses over the past two years about the new food labelling system, including how to apply and interpret the standard. We are now entering the compliance phase, where we are making sure businesses are presenting accurate information about country of origin to their customers.”

Mr Keogh said ACCC inspectors would initially focus on fresh or short-shelf products sold by supermarkets.

“We will raise concerns with businesses where we believe there is an issue with country-of-origin labelling. As always, we are able to escalate cases which warrant stronger action,” he said.

“Some consumers are willing to pay extra for products grown, produced or made in Australia, and producers and importers should be aware that any claim which is likely to mislead consumers will also be a breach of the law.

“We just want to ensure that consumers can make informed choices and businesses have a level playing field to compete fairly in relation to these claims.”

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 started under Australian Consumer Law on 1 July 2016.

The law states: “To claim that a food with imported ingredients was ‘made in’ a particular country, processing in that country must have created a product that is fundamentally different in nature, identity or essential character from the imported ingredients that went into it. Minor processing which only changes the form or appearance of imported goods (e.g. crumbing an imported prawn or reconstituting an imported juice concentrate) will no longer be enough to justify a ‘made in’ claim.”

The labelling requirements will vary depending on whether the food is regarded as a priority or non-priority food.

Priority foods include meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables, most dairy products, breakfast cereal, bread, nuts, honey and non-carbonated fruit juices.

Priority foods that are grown, produced or made in Australia will need to be labelled with a “three-part standard mark” label which features the well-known image of a kangaroo in a triangle, a bar chart that shows the proportion of Australian ingredients and descriptive text.

Non-priority foods include seasonings, confectionary, biscuits and snack food, bottled water, soft drinks and sports drinks, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages. These will only be required to carry text country of origin statements.

All imported foods must display country of origin labelling.

The ACCC, along with state and territory fair trading agencies, will be responsible for enforcing the standard.

Will the new standards help you shape your purchases? Have you been frustrated by the lack of clarity in this area?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    28th Jun 2018
    That's a laugh, everything I look at is from over seas. Majority from China, that's why they outright own this country.
    28th Jun 2018
    Well, what do you know! The enforcers of company and related laws are actually enforcing.

    How long has it taken us to make our public regulators really do something to protect the revenue, the environment, citizens and consumers against the corrupt and illegal practices of companies operating in Australia? Years.

    Corporations have operated here with impunity while the government wastes our money on chasing protesters somewhere or other, and taking the opposition to court over and over.

    Meanwhile, taxes are not collected from phoenixing companies, patients are irrevocable damaged by incompetent physicians, small businesses are sent to the wall by banksters, and profits harvested in an oversight and enforcement free Australia by cosseted monopolies, are exported to tax free jurisdictions.

    The IPA/LNP must feel an election coming on!
    28th Jun 2018
    Yes TJ and the sooner the better
    28th Jun 2018
    About bloody time BUT corporations will find a way around it in their sly quest for greater profits!!
    28th Jun 2018
    The ACCC is a toothless tiger which does a (very) investigations to justify the large number of employees who make a very good living doing zip other than public relations.
    I recently made a complaint against a fraudulent business activity. The response was to thank me for the information but they would not be investigating. All it would have taken is to pick up the phone and warn the (large) business that if they persisted they would be hauled before the courts and/or closed down. Problem would have been fixed. It was not because that was too tough for the over paid princesses who write emails but do not act.

    The whole advertising industry is a deceitful sham where consumers are permitted to be conned and sold something other than what is advertised. I see the tentacles of big business running the government yet again. So why do we need all the highly paid clowns in Canberra if they are employed by business whilst being paid by the public?
    28th Jun 2018
    I seem to recall a certain NSW state liberal government who came to power with the slogan "we've got a plan".

    They were also trying to convince people that Australia's National Dept was caused by spending too much money on public services. I don't know what happened to our trade deficit it wasn't talked about.

    Their plan was to run all the government services like a business.

    This led to getting rid of most of the government food inspectors and making the food Industry self regulating under a national standard.

    So if we seem short of Government food inspectors, it started about 20 years ago and we are probably still short of food inspectors.
    28th Jun 2018
    The packets now say "made with local and imported goods". - Now there's a useful statement. Basically the product is imported and probably bottled or packaged with some Aussie water in Australia.
    28th Jun 2018
    The ACCC. I recently bought a powerplanter. I would love you to look it up on the net. I thought the drill and the attachment were included as one in the price as that is how it was shown in the image. However I just received the very expensive attachment and no drill in the mail.
    I wrote to the company explaining that I thought their advertisement was misleading etc etc. Then as I got no satisfaction I wrote to the ACCC and said their advertising was misleading.
    The ACCC's response was take it up with the company yourself. End of conversation.
    The company's comeback was if you see a girl leaning on a car you know the girl doesn't come with car!
    So while I was misled and wanted to stop others from being misled also the ACCC's response was just buyer beware.
    So what is the point of having an ACCC?
    28th Jun 2018
    OK I looked up powerplanter, went to the first one I saw and found this on the same page as the order in bright red letters:

    "Please Note: This one requires a 13mm (1/2 inch) chuck on your drill."

    From that I would clearly understand that the drill shown with the powerplanter attached was not actually part of the deal!

    Of course I have no idea whether this is the same one you saw and bought. But at least I did as you asked. I just don't agree it is misleading or that the ACCC should get involved in this particular case.
    28th Jun 2018
    Maybe they have improved it. I haven't gone back to the site as I don't what the cookies again. All they needed to write was 'drill not included'. They did admit many people had made my mistake but saw nothing wrong with the way it was presented.

    However my point was the ACCC didn't even bother to check it out. I was just sent a proforma response letter.

    28th Jun 2018
    I buy whatever takes my fancy and I don't bother looking at labels which are often erroneous. If Australian food is competitive in price, it goes into my trolley. We're on a fixed income and price is the driving factor in most purchases. The exception is Bundy Rum.
    28th Jun 2018
    Well Old Man you are a downright FOOL -- support Aussie farmers --and Aussie product or we will have NONE very soon
    28th Jun 2018
    Disappointing OM. Whilst I understand buying local keeps the nation running. We would always buy local as long as the quality and price are not too far removed from what is fair and reasonable.
    If you don't support our farmers one day even you will wake up and ALL of the farms will be foreign owned and food will go the way of our world class LNG: loaded onto ships and taken offshore with not $1 of tax left here. Be careful what you wish for.
    28th Jun 2018
    No farmer is on a fixed income Old Man.
    28th Jun 2018
    And of course when that happens and all the food is from overseas then the prices really do start rising.

    Same as if a supermarket gobbles all the others up. The prices start rising.
    28th Jun 2018
    funny how the accc checks on false ads for all of australia except for political ads as they have one law for them and one for the rest of us
    29th Jun 2018
    You mean like the Mediscare telephone ads last election?
    Not a Bludger
    28th Jun 2018
    Just another crowd of civil servants (so-called) dissembling, tossers - making an art form of complicating what should be a simple matter just to keep themselves in jobs.

    Can we not have a simple law - viz - if it is 100% grown, built from Australian materials in Australia, packaged in Australia, delivered in Australia, then it is Made in Australia.
    Everything else is Made In (country of origin).
    Simple - and save a crowd of overpaid beauracrats.
    28th Jun 2018
    Went to Woolworths the other day to buy some groceries. The labelling on the garlic stated it was a mix of Australian and Imported product. Bacon is the same but what part is Australian and what part is imported?
    28th Jun 2018
    I understand. That should mean Australian when they can get it and otherwise not Australians. Bet business abuses that one though. This is why whatever is sold needs to be labelled where it came from.
    28th Jun 2018
    The Libs sold Australia what is left to be made in Australia.Short term thinking that will fail in the long term.
    28th Jun 2018
    They all did floss - Labor and Liberal alike.
    28th Jun 2018
    And the beat goes on labeling laws have been making the rounds for years.remember the stickers Aussie will not change anything we will still be getting shafted years from now because slaps on the wrist does not work .
    28th Jun 2018
    Coles now label their Ham & Bacon in .the Deli as , " at least 30% Australian content or at least 20%Australian content " . From 9this I presume the Australian content is the salt and water they pump in when making these products , what a con . They dont tell you where the res t comes from .
    29th Jun 2018
    The Chinese love our fresh and relatively clean foods.

    Best way to avoid foreign food is to shop with a fishmonger, butcher and fruit and veg market owned by people you trust. There is very little these days that can't be bought in these three stores as far as food needs go.

    The fishmonger also sells sauces, the butcher salts and sauces and processed meats and the fruit and veg store has a whole grocery line including breads etc.

    Farmers markets are also great for buying Australian produce.
    8th Jul 2018
    To avoid buying overseas products, just don't buy packaged food or drinks and shop at a fruit and veg market or store, farmers markets are a great place to meet the grower and support small family business. Also online is strictly Australian made and mostly grown. You can email about each listing and find out first. I am on a low income but one thing I won't skimp on is good quality Australian food. I will reduce my sending elsewhere like not going out to eat or getting a hair cut, I do that myself.
    8th Jul 2018
    Woops meant to be 'I will reduce my spending not sending'. For meat eaters go to a butchers.

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