‘Country of Origin’ food labelling
The Australian government is introducing new ‘Country of Origin’ food labels. These labels tell you at a glance where products are produced, grown, made and packed which helps you to
make informed food choices at the supermarket, as well as easily see which foods support local farmers and reduce the environmental impact of food transportation.
Will all foods have Country of Origin food labels?
This is where it can get tricky.
In the supermarket aisle, at the fruit and veg shop and your local market, you’ll see Country of Origin labels on:
- Unpackaged foods (e.g. fresh and processed fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, fish and meat – look for product label signs near the vegetable section or stickers on fruit)
- Packaged foods
BUT, there are a few things to watch out for:
- The new labelling is limited to foods where country of origin information is most valuable for shoppers (they call them ‘priority’ foods – they’re your basics such as milk, bread, cereal, vegetables, fruit etc.). The ‘non-priority’ food list includes biscuits, snack food (e.g. chips and crackers), confectionary, soft drinks, sports drinks, seasoning (e.g. salt, spices and herbs), tea and coffee, bottled water and alcoholic beverages. These foods will not have the new label, but will continue to provide some information regarding country of origin as required.
- The new labels do not apply to food sold in restaurants, cafes or schools.
What does the label look like and what does it mean?
Grown in Australia: 100% of the ingredients are Australian grown.
Product of Australia: 100% of the ingredients are Australian and all major processing has been done here.
Made in Australia: means major processing has been done here. Imported foods that are only sliced, canned, reconstituted or repackaged here cannot make this claim.
Packed in Australia: features only a bar chart that shows the percentage of Australian ingredients.
Imported foods: features text only that clearly shows the country the food comes from.
When will I start seeing the label?
The new labels will start appearing in the supermarket aisle from 1 July 2016. The food industry and retails stores have been given time over the next two years to sell their existing stock and transition to the new labelling system. This means that over time you will see more and more ‘Country of Origin’ labels appearing on products.
For more information, visit the Australian Government’s guide to ‘Country of Origin’ food labelling.