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.
Minor amendment to the Information Standard
On 28 November 2016, a minor amendment was made to the Information Standard so that sections 22 and 23 (dealing with imported food packed in Australia) and section 26 (dealing with imported food with Australian ingredients) better reflect the decision made by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs on 31 March 2016. The amendment primarily relates to a very narrow range of foods that were made in a single overseas country and 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 passed the House of Representatives on 29 November 2016, and was introduced to the Senate the same day. The Bill is expected to be considered by the Senate in next Parliamentary sitting period which commences on 7 February 2017. Details of the Bill and supporting documents can be found on the Australian Parliamentary website. The amendment is primarily intended to simplify the tests used to justify a country of origin ‘made in’ claim by clarifying what substantial transformation means and removing the ’50 per cent production cost test’. The Bill also creates a new safe harbour defence for products labelled in accordance with Information Standards. The proposed changes aim to better reflect consumer expectations and international practice, and align with the new Information Standard.
Country of origin labelling for seafood sold in the food services sector
On 28 November 2016, the Government announced that it would establish a working group to consider improvements to origin labelling for seafood sold in the food services sector in Australia. The working group will be led by the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy MP and will report back to the Parliament within 12 months. Further information will be provided on this website when available.
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 theFactsheet for Trading Partners |.
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 theConsumer 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 theCOAG 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.