Country of origin
Many consumers want to buy food from a certain country. It is against the law for suppliers to mislead you about the country of origin of products.
Food products sold in Australia are required to follow labelling standards set out in the Food Standards Code administered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Statements about where food has been made or grown are found on product labels, packaging or in advertising. Common claims include ‘product of’, ‘grown in’ and ‘made in’.
Any claim or impression that is made about the country of origin must be accurate and not misleading or deceptive.
'Product of' and 'Grown in' means that each significant ingredient or part of the product originated in the country claimed and almost all of the production processes occurred in that country.
‘Product of’ is often used for processed food and ‘Grown in’ is mostly used for fresh food.
- If ‘Product of Australia’ appears on a packet of smoked salmon, this means the salmon was both caught and smoked in Australia.
- If ‘Grown in Australia’ appears on an apple, it was grown in Australia.
'Made in' means that the product was made (not just packed) in the country claimed and at least 50 per cent of the cost to produce the product was incurred in that country.
These products could contain ingredients from other countries. A product with a ‘Made in Australia’ label won’t necessarily contain Australian ingredients.
- If ‘Made in Australia’ appears on a jar of jam, this means the jam was made in Australia and at least half of the cost of making the jam was incurred in Australia. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients for the jam were grown or sourced in Australia.
Some companies use claims like ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ on their products, however, this doesn’t tell you what proportion of the ingredients are local and what proportion are imported.
Some businesses may use this label to allow for seasonal shortages in Australian produce when they need to rely on imports.
Some food labels contain logos, symbols or pictures. Examples include flags, animals, the Southern Cross or the map of Australia.
Look closely at the label to determine whether these pictures refer to the origin of the food or the ownership of the company.
There are a number of recognised logos which indicate where food has been made or grown, such as ‘Australian Made, Australian Grown’.
Some foods include claims on their labels such as ‘Proudly Australian owned’ or ‘100% Australian owned’.
These statements are about the ownership of the company; they don’t indicate where the product was made or where its ingredients came from.
The Australian Government is proposing a new system to deliver clearer and more consistent country of origin food labels without imposing excessive cost on industry. With state and territory agreement, the new system is expected to be in place by mid-2016, with a transitional period.