Australia's new Country of Origin Labelling is currently being rolled out nation-wide.
Australia's new Country of Origin Labelling is currently being rolled out nation-wide. Australian Government food label

New food labelling laws 'berry' smart for businesses and consumers

MEMBER for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, will today visit Smart Berries' Mundubbera farm in Boynewood.

Smart Berries Australia is one of the local companies rolling out Australia's new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) early, making it easier for consumers to support local farmers and businesses.

The politicians' visit to see the new CoOL changes follows the Australian Government's move to introduce new food labelling laws, the requirements for which came into effect July 1, 2016.

Mr O'Dowd said he was delighted to visit the Mundubbera farm to hear about the progress they are making in adopting CoOL, and encouraged other businesses, throughout central Queensland and across the country to get on board with the new reforms.

"I believe this new labelling system is positive for both consumers and Smart Berries,” Mr O'Dowd said.

"I thank Smart Berries and their team at the Mundubbera farm for being leaders in informing their customers and showing the way to other businesses who haven't yet implemented the new system.”

The change in food labelling laws means that consumers will be able to know where products are coming from more easily, according to the Australian Government food labels website.

The labels will also give consumers greater confidence and make it easier to support local farmers and businesses, telling them, at a glance, where their food was grown, produced, made or packed. The labels will also display what percentage of the ingredients come from Australia.

Australia's new Country of Origin Labelling is currently being rolled out nation-wide.
Australia's new Country of Origin Labelling is currently being rolled out nation-wide. Australian Government food label

According to the same source, the new labelling system is essential to promoting Aussie producers and their products both domestically and internationally.

Up until now, country of origin labelling has often been unclear. It was hard to know the difference between descriptions like 'made in' and 'product of'.

The new system is currently being rolled out and is in the middle of a two-year transition period.

The period ensures businesses have time to manage the change while still selling their existing stock.

Any products that have old labels at the end of the transition period can still be sold until the end of their shelf-life. Food labelled from 1 July 2018 must follow the new rules.

"There is a range of assistance available to help businesses with the process including an online tool to help them identify appropriate labelling for their products,” Mr O'Dowd said.

The tool and other support for business can be found at business.gov.au/foodlabels or by calling the contact centre on 13 28 46.