November 28, 2018

Country of origin labelling is coming for primary foods

Retailers of primary food products will soon need to tell consumers where that food was grown, harvested, caught or raised.

The Consumers' Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill has passed its third reading, so is now waiting on royal assent to become law.

This bill will apply to food that is only one type of ingredient, and is a fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, or seafood product that has been only minimally processed. It will require these foods' country or place of origin to be disclosed by reference to where the food was grown, harvested, caught, or raised, but not where it was packaged, manufactured, or processed.

This information could be provided on a label on the food, or in proximity to it when it's displayed for sale. It will only apply to food sold in retail outlets.

The legal requirements will be brought about through a regulation being created under section 27 of the Fair Trading Act, which allows for the creation of 'consumer information standards'. A standard will be drafted to cover the country of origin requirements, which will apply six months (or 18 months for frozen food) after it is notified.

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