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Country of Origin labels buoyed by listeria outbreak

frozen veg2An outbreak of listeria, linked to frozen vegetables, has underlined the importance of Country of Origin labelling, said the Australian Manufacturers Workers’ Union (AMWU).

10 different frozen vegetable products sold in major supermarkets were listed for recall due to contamination fears, and are all linked to a factory in Hungary.

This factory is also at the centre of a massive recall of frozen sweet corn, mixed vegetables, carrots and broccoli from stores across England, according to the UK Food Standards Agency.

“We know that there can be dangers in imported frozen vegetables – we’ve seen it before with imported frozen berries,” said AMWU national food secretary Jason Hefford. “Now we’re seeing it again with frozen vegetables imported from Europe. The reality is that no country in the world has safer or cleaner food standards than Australia – not even Europe.”

On July 1st mandatory Country of Origin labelling came into effect, requiring all foods sold on Australian shelves to include more detail about where ingredients are sourced.

“Being able to trust the food that you and your family eat is crucial,” said Hefford. “Country of Origin labels will mean that finally consumers are given clarity over what they are buying.”

Previously, terms such as ‘grown in’, ‘made in’, and ‘packed in’ have obfuscated the exact nature a product has with Australian ingredients, if any.

“The new system will help consumers to know, and the union applauds the fact that it is now enforceable.”

Coles not included in recall

With Woolworths, Aldi and IGA frozen vegetables affected, Coles noted its goods were not included in the recall.

“As an Australian company, we are keen to support other Australian businesses to deliver great quality local products to our customers,” the company said in a media release. To do this, we pride ourselves on having an Australian First Sourcing Policy, which means that we source Australian grown food wherever and whenever we can.”

Coles went on to confirm that all suppliers of Coles brand food products have updated packaging to comply with the new Country of Origin requirements.

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