In Australia, food labels must say where food is grown, produced, made or packed. This helps consumers make informed decisions about the food they buy.
Tools for business
If you sell food at retail in Australia, you must consider if your products need country of origin food labels.
Country of origin labelling requirements for food are in the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016. You can design and apply your own labels as long as they meet the standard.
Consumer rights and label types
Consumers want quick and accurate information to help decide what food to buy. Food labels need to be clear, consistent and honest. It’s against the law for suppliers to mislead or lie about where their food comes from.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website explains the meaning of each label and your rights as a consumer.
Evaluating the country of origin labelling system for food
The current country of origin labelling system for food came into full effect in July 2018.
We evaluated the system in 2021 to see how well it:
- improved consumer access to information about the origin of food
- clarified the origin claims businesses can make about their products
- avoided imposing excessive costs on impacted businesses.
Seafood and seafood products
Read seafood labelling publications.
Developing the country of origin labelling system for food
We consulted with industry and consumers about a new food labelling system and carried out market research. Our findings showed strong support for a new food labelling system. Consumers called for greater clarity about where their food comes from.
The Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs (CAF) approved the decision regulation impact statement with the following endorsed options:
- using the familiar ‘kangaroo in a triangle’ logo
- displaying the percentage of Australian ingredients with accompanying statement
- allowing for a 24-month transition period for businesses
- removing the system from the Food Standards Code
- creating a new information standard under the Australian Consumer Law.
Digitising food product data for consumers
We commissioned a report into the potential for digital food labelling in Australia. This would allow businesses to give digital food product information to their consumers and share information with other businesses in their supply chains.
The report looked at work underway in Australia and overseas to develop web-based data sources, ledgers, apps and interactive supermarket displays.
We found Australia’s food industry is already considering ways to collect and provide digital food product information. This will inform the future development of digital food labelling.
Contact us if you would like to read the report.
Regulations for country of origin labelling for complementary medicines changed in 2020. This change followed public consultation on the use of the ‘Australian made’ logo for the complementary medicine sector.
To see what changed, visit the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Consumer Law—Country of Origin Representations) Regulations 2020 on the Federal Register of Legislation. These regulations updated the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010.