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National information campaign ushers in changes to food labelling

18 April 2016

Joint media release with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce.

A national consumer information campaign has begun to raise awareness of Australian Government reforms to country of origin labelling for food.

The reforms come into effect from 1 July 2016 to make country of origin labelling information on food clearer and more transparent for consumers following today’s registration of a new Information Standard.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said that businesses could start using the new labels now if they wanted to.

“The registration of the Information Standard ahead of its 1 July start date will give businesses some certainty, so they can start to get the new labels on their food products and onto shelves as soon as possible,” Mr Pyne said.

“However, businesses that need more time to implement their labelling changes have two years after the 1 July start date before the changes become mandatory. This means that any food labelled under the current rules before 1 July 2018 can still be sold and allowed to see out its shelf life.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the reforms were a win for both consumers and businesses.

“Labelling reforms to our food products have been a long time coming. This Government has succeeded in achieving these reforms where previous Governments have failed,” Mr Joyce said.

Under the changes, all food that currently needs to be labelled with a country of origin will continue to do so.

Most food that is made, produced or grown in Australia will need to carry a label that also includes a kangaroo symbol, as well as text and a bar chart indicating the percentage of Australian ingredients.

Labels for most products packed in Australia that contain imported foods which have undergone no or only minor processing in Australia will carry a ‘packed’ statement, as well as text and a bar chart indicating the percentage of Australian ingredients. They will not carry the kangaroo symbol.

Imported food will continue to show where it was grown, produced, made. If the food was not grown, produced or made in a single country it will need to indicate where it was packed and that it is of multiple origins or comprises imported ingredients.

The national campaign will inform consumers about the changes and explain what the new labels on foods mean.

“We are providing Australians with the information they have been calling for without imposing an unnecessary burden on business,” Mr Pyne said.

“Australians will now be able to make an informed choice about the food they buy.”

“We expect Australians will welcome the labelling changes which make good sense and that will give the community the information they have been seeking,” Mr Joyce said.

Media contact: Mr Pyne's office 02 6277 7070, pynemedia@industry.gov.au
Department media: media@industry.gov.au