Vegetable growers demand stronger Country of Origin labelling enforcement
Australian vegetable and potato growers representative body AusVeg has backed the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) criticisms over what it said was a “failure of authorities to implement Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL)”.
Victorian Farmers Federation President Peter Tuohey expressed disappointment after The Weekly Times newspaper reported that no Victorian business had received fines for breaching CoOL laws.
“As stated previously, AUSVEG is concerned by the flagrant disregard by some fresh food retailers in Victoria with relation to implementation of Country of Origin Labelling laws,” said Michael Bodnarcuk AUSVEG Spokesperson. “These laws were introduced to protect consumers and their ability to decide on the origin of the product that they will consume,” he said.
“Studies have shown that the majority of Australians would prefer to buy locally grown fruit and vegetables and we believe that consumers are being robbed of this ability through improper labelling practices,” Mr Bodnarcuk said.
Industry calls for ‘refined’ CoOL laws
AusVeg said the industry was calling for refined Country of Origin Labelling laws to “allow consumers to be sure about the quality and origin of the food that they are eating”.
“AUSVEG believes in a strong regulatory framework and proper policing of relevant laws as vital to ensuring consumers know where their food is coming from,” Mr Bodnarcuk said.
“The enforcement of Country of Origin Labelling laws needs to be strong enough to prevent produce of dubious origin being brought into Australia with ambiguous labelling,” Mr Bodnarcuk said.
Mr Bodnarcuk said AusVeg was urging authorities to implement more stringent policing of CoOL laws at smaller retailers and fresh food stores.