New Laws for Food Labels Begin on July 1, 2016

In my blog on July 27, 2015, I forecasted that it’s time to plan for new food labels. Well these days, Commonwealth, federal and territory ministers do not agree on very much but on March 31, 2016 they did agree on new regulations in relation to the proportion of local content depicted in all food labels.

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This will be a great boon for Australian farmers and other local producers of food. As a regular food shopper myself, I know how hard it is to find out the origin of the food in supermarkets and even my local fruit shop. No longer will importers be able to say “made from local and imported ingredients” or “packaged in Australia”. Instead, a bar chart will be required to show consumers the actual percentage of the food that is from Australia.

The federal government has what they call an “Information Standard”.

In other words, it is not law as yet and with a federal election looming it is not likely to come into law in the very near future. Importantly, there is an agreement between ministers and that means this standard is likely to pass into law without controversy. Below, is a bar chart and a description of this bar chart as outlined on this government website.

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Reference – https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016L00528

By government legislation standards, this is perhaps relatively straightforward. You simply need to know where your ingredients come from and what they weigh.

“This new Information Standard will commence on 1 July 2016. Business will have two years to transition to the new arrangements and current stock in trade can see out its shelf life.”

Reference: http://www.industry.gov.au/industry/IndustrySectors/FoodManufacturingIndustry/Pages/Country-of-Origin-Labelling.aspx

Effectively, this means that labelling laws will not actually come into effect until 1 July, 2018. However, there is an opportunity for you to prepare new food labels and alter your packaging immediately so that your food products will really stand out on the supermarket shelves, markets and other retail outlets. If you provide Australian grown and Australian produced food, then you should flaunt this benefit.

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