What you need to know about the update to food labelling laws

The federal government’s recent amendments to food labelling regulations, which will require businesses to reveal how Australian their products are, will come into effect on July 1 this year.

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016, will regulate what information businesses must provide to consumers about the food they buy.

The legislation, which forms part of the Australian Consumer Law applies to food that can be retailed in Australia at stores, markets, online or in vending machines.

However, it will not apply to food sold for immediate consumption from businesses such as restaurants, take-away shops, cafes, schools, caterers or self-catering institutions, prisons and fundraising events.

There will be a two-year transition period to allow businesses to adjust before regulations become mandatory from July 2018.

Businesses may voluntarily start meeting the new requirements now.

Country of origin labelling

The updated regulations will require most food items to display labels like the following, which reveal how much of the product is made and sourced within Australia.

Food labelling image 1

The kangaroo symbol is intended to give consumers a quick way to see that the product was produced, grown or made in Australia.

The label also includes a statement that the food was “grown, produced or made in Australia” and an indication of what percentage this refers to.

The percentage, also presented in a bar chart under the kangaroo logo, will indicate the minimum amount by weight of Australian ingredients in the food.

If the food is packaged in Australia and the amount of Australian ingredients varies over time, these products will have a label with a bar chart and statement of the average percentage but no kangaroo logo.

The same applies for food that has Australian ingredients but is produced, made or packaged in another country.

Food grown, produced or made exclusively in Australia

Exclusively Australian foods must include one of the following labels.

Food labelling image 2[1]

In the labelling, ‘X’ means the phrases: ‘grown in’, ‘produced in’, ‘produce of’ or ‘product of’, and ‘Y’ indicates ‘grown’, ‘produce’, ‘product’ or the ‘kind of food’.

Other food made in Australia

Where foods are grown, produced or made in Australia but have ingredients from overseas, labels like the following will be required.

Where none of the food’s ingredients are from Australia, the following labelling must be used.

Ingredients not from AustraliaIf a food item’s Australian ingredients are less than 10%, then the following label should be used.

Less than 10% Australian

A ‘BC’ label can be used where the average proportion of Australian ingredients is not less than 1%. ‘BC’ references the “appropriate bar chart”.

BC LABELLING

P% refers to the percentage of ingredients in a product that are Australian.

These bar charts can be referenced through ‘BC’ labelling or by appearing as is on the label displayed on the food item.

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