Origin labels gain international traction

tin, can, labelThe Czech Republic is now leading the way in strengthening country of origin labelling rules to provide consumers with clearer information about the food they are buying.

The strengthened laws mean that from 2017, milk, wine and unprocessed food manufacturers will only be able to label their food products as Czech if they are produced in the Czech Republic and only if they are made of 100 per cent Czech raw materials.

Industry body, Ausveg, welcomes the announcement, stating the move highlights the  increasing global support from consumers for clear information about the food products that they buy.

“This initiative also shows that fears expressed by some manufacturers when the Country of Origin Labelling debate started in Australia, that EU countries might litigate Australia through the World Trade Organisation have little credibility,” Richard Mulcahy, CEO, Ausveg, said.

“It is encouraging that the Czech Republic, an EU Member since 2004, is listening to the public and introducing new laws that will help clarify whether a product that is labelled as locally produced is actually grown in the Czech Republic.”

“The new laws will prevent companies from using ambiguous and deceitful labelling to mislead consumers into thinking their food was locally grown.”

Australia’s country of origin labelling system has been in the spotlight following a health scare involving frozen imported berries in early 2015, with the Australian Government committing to reform. Proposed changes to the way that food manufacturers must label the country of origin of their products are currently open for consultation for businesses and the public.

“The proposed changes announced by the Australian Government are far from perfect but are a step forward. Effective reform would ideally require the origins of all key ingredients to be displayed on food products and would also eliminate the misleading claim ‘Made in Australia’,” said Mulcahy.

“Ausveg has been a strong advocate of labelling reform in Australia over many years, calling for transparency in our labelling system so that consumers can make informed decisions about their food purchases.”

“The only producers who could possibly be hurt by proper reform are those who are importing dangerous produce from countries with lax food safety standards and want to hide this vital information from consumers.”

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