From 1 July 2018, it became mandatory for businesses to ensure that food offered for retail sale in Australia is labelled in accordance with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard (the Standard). The Standard is aimed at providing consumers with greater certainty for where food is made, produced and grown when making purchasing decisions. For more information on the requirements of the Standard, see our previous update here.
To monitor compliance, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in conjunction with the National Measurement Institute, will be conducting market surveillance checks on approximately 10,000 food products, with a focus on fresh and short shelf life products.
Importantly, food packaged or labelled before 1 July 2018 can still be sold with old labelling. However, producers and retailers should ensure that going forward food products are packaged and labelled in accordance with the Standard. The ACCC has indicated that it is unlikely to take action where businesses are making genuine efforts to comply. Enforcement actions for breach of the Standard can include warnings and infringement notices (both with financial penalties).
This blog was co-authored by Claire Kermond, Valiant Warzecha, Jessie Buchan and Melinda Upton.