World Health Day prompts food safety talks
Andrew White, deputy CEO of AusVeg, said recent public health scares involving imported produce have thrust food safety front and centre in the psyche of Australian consumers and galvanised their preference for supporting Australian producers, and purchasing local produce.
“The problem is that our current country of origin labelling laws are not clear enough and don’t always allow consumers to exercise choice, and our imported food inspection scheme only screens the majority of imported fruit and vegetable consignments at a low rate of only five per cent,” White said.
The calls for more transparent labelling comes following the recent Hepatitis A scare involving imported berries from China, believed to be linked to Patties-owned Nanna’s frozen berries ranges.
“AusVeg appreciates the fact the Government has recognised the overwhelming level of consumer support for action on this important issue, given around 26,000 Australians have written to Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, urging meaningful reform of country of origin labelling.
“Australians are lucky that their farmers produce world beating food products, and it is time we allow them to take full advantage of this fact with labelling laws that let them identify where the food they are buying and eating has been sourced from,” White said.
Consumers can find out more information about the Government’s country of origin labelling consultations and register their interest by visiting www.industry.gov.au/cool.