- Country of origin claims must be true, accurate and based on reasonable grounds.
- For labels stating a product’s country of origin, there are legal definitions of the terms ‘grown in’, ‘product of’ and ‘made in’.
- Most food sold in Australia must be labelled with its country of origin, following rules set out in an information standard.
What the ACCC does
- We educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities.
- We accept reports where people consider a business is doing something they shouldn’t do. We use those reports to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work.
- If a business breaks the rules about country of origin claims, we can investigate and may take some form of compliance or enforcement action.
What the ACCC doesn't do
- We don’t resolve individual disputes about country of origin claims.
- We don’t manage country of origin labelling policy.
Country of origin claims are representations made by businesses about the country where products come from. Country of origin claims can tell consumers where a product was grown, produced or made, for example.
A country of origin claim could be:
- expressly stated in words – for example, ‘Made in Australia’, ‘Product of Thailand’, ‘Grown in New Zealand’
- implied by words, images or symbols that suggest a product is from a particular country – for example, labelling showing the shape of Italy in the colours of the Italian flag could imply a connection between the product and Italy.
Businesses risk breaking the law if they make inaccurate country of origin claims.
In Australia, there are different laws that may affect the claims businesses can make about where their goods come from. The Australian Consumer Law is one of them.
There are also special rules around country of origin labelling on certain food products. The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Food Labelling Standard) requires most food for retail sale in Australia to carry country of origin information.
Any claims that a business makes about the products it sells must be true, accurate and based on reasonable grounds. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure they have a reasonable basis for any country of origin claims they make.
It is important that businesses understand the key concepts of country of origin claims, such as ‘grown’, ‘produced’, ‘made’ and ‘packed’. This will help them to ensure, that their country of origin claims are accurate. The concepts below are defined in the Australian Consumer Law. If used correctly they provide ‘safe harbour’ defences for businesses to make country of origin claims.
Failing to meet the requirements of a safe harbour doesn’t mean that a business is unable to make that particular country of origin claim. A business can still make the claim if they are confident an ordinary and reasonable consumer wouldn’t consider it to be false, misleading or deceptive.
‘Grown in’ generally means that all the main components of the product were both:
- grown in that country, and
- almost all processing occurred in that country.
The claim is often used for food products. However, it is also relevant to non-food items, such as flowers and clothing items made from wool or natural fibres.
‘Produced in’ or ‘product of’ generally means that all the main ingredients or components for the product:
- come from the stated country, and
- almost all processing occurred in that country.
The overlap in the definitions of ‘grown in’ and ‘produced in’ means that origin claims are largely interchangeable. For example, a product that is ‘grown in Australia’ can also claim to have been ‘produced in Australia’ in most instances.
This claim is often used for processed and fresh food products as well as other products such as clothing and makeup items.
‘Made in’ generally means the last substantial step in the making of the product happened in that country. That step must have made a significant change to the ingredients or components so that the final product is fundamentally different in identity, nature or essential character from its imported ingredients or components.
This claim is different from ‘grown in’ or ‘produced in’ claims, as most ingredients or components for the product can come from other countries.
‘Made in’ is generally used for manufactured products.
Depending on the circumstances, a ‘packed in’ claim is generally used for food. The rules for ‘packed in’ claims are set out in the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard.
Under the Food Labelling Standard, a food that cannot claim to have been grown, produced or made in a country will only be able to claim to have been ‘packed in’ that country.
These claims can be used, for example, when the amount of processing done in a country is not enough to make a ‘made in’ claim.
Even if a business meets requirements for country of origin claims, they may still breach the law if extra words or images are used that create an overall misleading impression.
Read more in our country of origin claims guidance which explains the rules under the Australian Consumer Law, including the requirements for non-food items. The Australian Consumer Law doesn’t require non-food products to have country of origin labelling, but other laws may apply.
The Food Labelling Standard requires most foods offered for retail sale to have information on the country where the food was grown, produced or made.
See Country of origin food labelling for more information on the types of food that require country of origin labelling. Together with fact sheets and guides, we also have information for:
- businesses that sell food or supply food to be sold in a retail setting on how to identify whether the Food Labelling Standard applies to their products
- businesses and consumers to understand the ‘grown in’, ‘produced in’, ‘made in’ and ‘packed in’ country of origin claims for food.
Sometimes the use of words, images or symbols might suggest or imply additional connections between a product and a particular country. For example, that the product’s manufacturer is Australian owned.
Businesses must ensure that all representations made about their products are not false, misleading or deceptive.
The kangaroo logo is a registered trademark administered by Australian Made Campaign Limited.
Australian made or Australian grown food products offered for sale in Australia are permitted to use the kangaroo logo (without cost) as long as they follow the Food Labelling Standard.
Use of the kangaroo logo for non-food goods is optional and the logo may only be used under licence from Australian Made Campaign Limited. For more information, visit the Australian Made Campaign Limited website.
Businesses do not need a licence or approval to use the rectangle bar chart on their non-food goods.
Anyone can make an enquiry or report a false or misleading country of origin claim to the ACCC. We use this information to identify issues that need investigation and potential compliance or enforcement action.
Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Food Labelling Standard)