Country of origin labelling update

Businesses have until 1 July 2018 to ensure their labels that are affixed to food items comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard (the Standard) which commenced on 1 July 2016.

The requirements under the Standard apply to food offered for retail in Australia (i.e. food sold in stores, markets, online or from a vending machine). The Standard does not apply to food sold to the public for immediate consumption (i.e by a restaurant, a canteen, a school, a caterer or self-catering institution, a prison, a hospital or a medical institution, a fundraising event etc) or not for human consumption.

There are differing requirements for labelling of food depending on whether the food is classed as ‘non-priority’ or ‘priority’.

Non-priority foods include: seasonings, confectionary, biscuits and snack food, bottled water, soft drinks, sport drinks, tea and coffee and alcoholic beverages – these all only require a text statement of origin on their labels.

Priority foods, which encompass all other foods not listed on the non-priority foods list, require particular labels to be displayed which include information stating where the food was grown, produced and made in and what percentage of the food was grown in Australia (if any). The specific labelling requirements depend on if the food items were packaged in Australia, grown, produced or made in Australia, packaged in another country, or grown, produced or made in another country. Food items can also be labelled as ‘Packed in Australia’ if the food was packaged here but the food was not grown, produced or made in Australia.

A helpful style guide can be found online to assist businesses in designing new labelling for food items.  Click here.

This blog was co-authored by Claire Kermond, Jessie Buchan and Melinda Upton.