Australian Government's Country Origin Labelling Reforms for food sold in Australia
On 1 July 2016, a new Information Standard under Australian Consumer Law, which sets out the new country of origin labelling requirements for food sold in Australia, commenced. Under this Information Standard, business has two years to transition to the new arrangements and current stock in trade can see out its shelf life.
Background information is available and you can register to be notified of upcoming news on country of origin labelling through the form below.
Businesses are now able to design and affix labels in accordance with the Information Standard. Further information is available at business.gov.au/foodlabels, including:
- an online decision tool to assist businesses to select and download labels to use
- a Style Guide to help businesses to determine how the new labels should look and be applied to food products
- the country of origin labelling library where the relevant label parts can be downloaded.
A compliance guide for business and answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.
Further information for consumers is available at www.foodlabels.industry.gov.au, as well as from the ACCC website.
For trading partners
Trading partners will find specific information on Australia's country of origin labelling in the Factsheet for Trading Partners |
Changes to labelling requirements for imported foods with some Australian ingredients packed in Australia
The department has identified that an amendment to Section 22 of the Information Standard is required to reflect the policy intent adopted by Australian governments. The amendment would mainly affect a very narrow range of foods made in a single overseas country, which are subsequently packed in Australia.
Amendment to the safe harbour defences under the Australian Consumer Law
The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2016 to amend the safe harbour defences under the Australian Consumer Law was introduced into Parliament on 4 May 2016. However, the calling of the 2016 Federal Election interrupted the Bill’s passage. The Government will consider re-introducing the Bill in the near future.
After extensive consultation with industry and consumers, the Australian Government announced a new country of origin food labelling (CoOL) system on 21 July 2015.
CoOL for food has been mandatory in Australia for many years. Consumers, however, have found origin labels confusing or unhelpful. The Australian Government proposed a new system to deliver clearer and more consistent country of origin food labels without imposing excessive cost on industry. Market research commissioned by the department in June 2015, which included 18 focus groups and over 1200 surveys, showed strong endorsement for changes that would require food claimed to be Australian to include the proportion of Australian ingredients. For more information view the Consumer Research for Country of Origin Food Labelling |
Consultation on a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and other documents proposing reforms to country of origin labelling closed on 29 January 2016. The department acknowledges the contributions of all stakeholders. Submissions received during the consultation period can be viewed on the departmental Consultation Hub.
Following consultations, a Decision RIS was approved by Commonwealth, state and territory ministers with responsibility for consumer affairs (the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs, or CAF) on 31 March 2016. For more information view the COAG Decision RIS | and the Communique from the CAF meeting.
The new system will see the continuation of mandatory country of origin labelling for most food offered for retail sale in Australia. In addition to a statement about where the food was produced, grown, made or packaged, most Australian food will carry the familiar kangaroo symbol and an indication of the proportion of Australian ingredients by weight through a statement and a bar graph. The new system will also see clearer rules around when food labels can carry 'made in' or 'packed in' statements.
Register your interest
Business can register their details below to be notified of upcoming news on country of origin labelling.
View privacy statement
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the Department) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) outlined in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) which regulates how entities may collect, use, disclose and store personal information. Information is being collected to allow businesses to register to be notified of upcoming news on the country of origin food labelling (CoOL).
The Department will collect from the register personal information including your name, the name of the business you represent, city and state or territory location, phone number and email address. The Department will use this information to communicate with you for the purpose of providing information to you about the progress of CoOL and the provision of labels.
Information obtained from the register will only be used and disclosed for the purposes outlined above. The information may be disclosed to our employees, contractors or service providers and to other Commonwealth government departments or agencies in accordance with the purposes outlined. Information will not be disclosed to any other third parties without your consent. Personal Information obtained will be stored and held in accordance with the Department’s obligations under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth).
The Department respects your rights to privacy under the Privacy Act and we comply with all the Privacy Act’s requirements in respect of collection and management of your personal information. We understand that from time to time you may not want to provide this information to us. That’s fine; however, it may mean we are unable to consider your views. If you choose not to consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as outlined above, you will be unable to receive further information regarding the new country of origin food labels via the department's direct notification system.