Labelling laws for a large range of foods will change
On 31 March 2016, Australian consumer affairs ministers agreed
to replace existing mandatory Country-of-Origin
(COO) food labelling requirements. This followed a
period of market research in June 2015 which included 18 focus
groups and over 1200 surveys. While considerable work needs to be
done, the Government is working towards a commencement date of
1 July 2016. Business will then have two years to
transition to the new arrangements and current stock in trade will
also be allowed to see out its use-by-date.
New graphics and information requirements for priority
The proposed system will involve COO labelling for food for
retail sale being regulated through a new mandatory
Information Standard under the Australian Consumer Law.
This Standard will impose additional graphics and information
requirements for priority foods (which are all
foods except "non-priority foods" which include
seasonings, confectionery, biscuits and snack food, bottled water,
soft drinks, sports drinks, tea, coffee and alcoholic
Non-priority foods only require a text statement of origin on
their labels because the research revealed that consumers of such
foods are focused on obtaining fast and easy food and are
unconcerned with carefully reading labelling information.
The proposed requirements are detailed below. Please note:
labels are not required to be green and gold; and exceptions to the
requirements below will be made for small packages.
What can you expect to see in coming
The Government has publicly stated that work has already
commenced to revoke the COO labelling provisions under the Food
Standards Code. In coming months it intends to finalise an
online tool, a Style Guide (which
details the specifications for standard labels) and other resources
to assist business to determine which labels to use, and to
download label artwork; and to roll out a national
information campaign for consumers and business.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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