Country of Origin Labelling

Update on the implementation of the Australian Government's proposed Country Origin Labelling Reforms for food sold in Australia

On 31 March 2016, Commonwealth, state and territory ministers with responsibility for consumer affairs met and agreed to the Commonwealth’s preferred proposal for country of origin labelling reform, supported by a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS). See the Communique from the meeting.

To make these reforms law, a new Information Standard under Australian Consumer Law has been created which sets out the new country of origin labelling requirements for food sold in Australia. 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.

On 4 May 2016, the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2016 was introduced to the Parliament to amend the safe harbour defences under Australian Consumer Law. The Bill was not passed by both Houses of Parliament prior to the dissolution of both Houses on 9 May and consequently the legislation will be a matter for consideration by the incoming government.

Next steps

  • launch an online tool, to assist businesses to select labels to use.

More information about the labelling reforms | and frequently asked questions |

You can receive further information by registering through the form below.

For business

Your business will have two years until the new labels are mandatory but you can start designing and applying your new labels now. Further information is available at business.gov.au\foodlabels, including:

  • a Style Guide to help businesses to determine how the new labels should look and be applied to food products; and
  • the country of origin labelling library where the relevant label parts can be downloaded.

For consumers

Further information for consumers interested in knowing more about the reforms is available at www.foodlabels.industry.gov.au.

Background

After extensive consultation with industry and consumers, the Australian Government announced a proposed new country of origin food labelling (CoOL) system on 21 July 2015.

While Australia already has mandatory CoOL for food, consumers find current origin labels confusing or unhelpful. The Australian Government proposed a new system to deliver clearer and more consistent country of origin food labels without imposing excessive cost on industry.

Consultation on the RIS and consultation package for country of origin labelling for food closed on 29 January 2016. The department acknowledges the contributions of all stakeholders. Submissions received during the consultation period can be viewed on the departmental Consultation Hub.

Following consultations, a Decision RIS was prepared and submitted to Commonwealth, state and territory ministers with responsibility for consumer affairs (the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs). For more information view the COAG Decision RIS |

The new system will see the continuation of mandatory country of origin labelling for most food offered for retail sale in Australia. In addition to a statement about where the food was produced, grown, made or packaged, most Australian food will carry the familiar kangaroo symbol and an indication of the proportion of Australian ingredients by weight through a statement and a bar graph. The new system will also see clearer rules around when food labels can carry ‘made in’ or ‘packed in’ statements.

Market research was commissioned by the department in June 2015 and included 18 focus groups and over 1200 surveys. Consumer responses showed strong endorsement for changes that would require food claimed to be Australian to include the proportion of Australian ingredients. For more information view the Consumer Research for Country of Origin Food Labelling |

Register your interest

Business can register their details below to be notified of upcoming news on country of origin labelling.

Your name
Business/organisation name
Type of Business/Organisation (please select)
Other Type of Business/Organisation
If you selected 'other' from the list above please specify in this box
State/Territory
City/Town
Phone
Email
Agree to privacy statement *
By selecting 'Yes' you have read and agreed to the privacy statement of supplying your contact information in the registration form.

View privacy statement

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the Department) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) outlined in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) which regulates how entities may collect, use, disclose and store personal information. Information is being collected to allow businesses to register to be notified of upcoming news on the country of origin food labelling (CoOL).

The Department will collect from the register personal information including your name, the name of the business you represent, city and state or territory location, phone number and email address. The Department will use this information to communicate with you for the purpose of providing information to you about the progress of CoOL and the provision of labels.

Information obtained from the register will only be used and disclosed for the purposes outlined above. The information may be disclosed to our employees, contractors or service providers and to other Commonwealth government departments or agencies in accordance with the purposes outlined. Information will not be disclosed to any other third parties without your consent. Personal Information obtained will be stored and held in accordance with the Department’s obligations under the Archives Act 1983 (Cth).

Personal information obtained will only be used and disclosed for the purposes outlined above and will not be used or disclosed without your consent, except where authorised or required by law. For further information, please refer to the Department's Privacy Policy.

The Department respects your rights to privacy under the Privacy Act and we comply with all the Privacy Act’s requirements in respect of collection and management of your personal information. We understand that from time to time you may not want to provide this information to us. That’s fine; however, it may mean we are unable to consider your views. If you choose not to consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as outlined above, you will be unable to receive further information regarding the new country of origin food labels via the department's direct notification system.