It can be pretty hard to tell where your food is from. Sometimes it’s obvious, and products boast in huge letters that they’re “Made in Italy” or “Grown in Australia”. But other times it’s hidden in tiny little letters, somewhere on the back of the packet amongst lists of ingredients the length of a dictionary and calories that you’d probably prefer not to know about!
That’s why the new Australian food labelling laws are going to be so interesting. No longer will you need to locate your glasses before you read the label. These laws aim to display
From 1 July 2016, businesses around Australia which sell food began to apply the labels to products. From there, there is a two-year transition period which allows businesses time to get used to the new laws and sell existing stock.
Basically, there are five new types of labels.
- Grown in Australia
This one is fairly straightforward. If you have fruit or veggies which are grown here, they’re going to display this label. Proudly Australian grown.
- Product of Australia
This label is fairly similar to the above, but all major processing must have been completed here as well. Think canning, butchering, preserving – those kinds of things!
- Made in Australia
Here, the ingredients can come from either Australia and overseas, but the processing still has to have been carried out in Australia.
Those three labels just mentioned will all have that very recognisable picture of the kangaroo on them. You know the one – the green and gold outline.
There will also be a little meter symbol underneath the kangaroo on the third label with a percentage shaded to demonstrate what proportion of the product is Australian.
Next, we have the final two labels.
- Packed in Australia
This label doesn’t have the kangaroo, but instead has a little bar chart (like we just mentioned) that shows what percentage of the product is made up of Australian ingredients.
- “Product of” Labels
The final label is one which will read – “Product of [Insert Country here]”. All foods which are imported from outside Australia will have their country of origin printed on the labels in large, easy-to-read lettering.
But why is this happening?
Australians want accountability when it comes to their food. They want to know what they’re eating (obviously) and they want to know where what they’re eating is coming from.
Over the years, we’ve seen Australians rally time and time again to support the little guys.
We love our farmers and we love to support proudly Australian businesses, when we can. In the past two years alone, Australians have turned out in droves, rethinking the way they buy milk in their weekly grocery shop.
They decided that they wanted to support the little guys. The farmers who loved their industry and were getting paid enough to stay in that industry.
These new food labelling laws will help to encourage Australians to become more conscientious about where their food comes from. When it comes down to it, we’d prefer to buy local. We’d prefer to support our farmers because, in turn, that helps our economy.
The laws dictating how food will be labelled will be clear and concise, which will also hopefully speed up your weekly grocery shop.
The new labelling laws might be a bit alien to begin with, but these changes are definitely an interesting step in changing the way that Australians consider and implement their food shopping. Like any new system, there are surely going to be some kinks to work out, but it’s going to be a fascinating journey to see if this revolutionises our supermarkets.