Government uses random survey on country of origin laws for “public opinion”
The Australian Federal Government this week released a survey which seeks to gain public opinion on a proposed new country of origin labelling system for Australia.
As currently stands, food manufacturers can label products as ‘Made in Australia’ even if ingredients come from overseas, subject to some loose threshhold rules.
The new label designs focus on how much of a product’s ingredients are from countries outside Australia.
The proposed label designs are;
- Using the existing green and gold kangaroo symbol that represents Australian made products, along with a gauge and text which informs what percentage of ingredients are local
- A fill-circle which will represent the percentage of local ingredients, text will also accompany the image
- A symbol representing Australia as would be shown on a map, text will also accompany the image
- A pie-chart which will represent the percentage of local ingredients, text will also accompany the image
Within the survey questions include;
- How important or unimportant is country of origin food labelling to you? (Open-ended answer allowed)
- Do you think changes to country of origin food labelling are required? (Choose from yes, or or do not know)
- The survey also asks participants to rank what labelling factors are most important to them, for example, do they care if labelling regulations cost businesses or do they more care about knowing the percentage of Australian ingredients included in food.
The Federal Government now wants to obtain the responses on what the public consider worthy information. Those who participate in the survey can express whether they would like a pie chart, just plain text, or the pre-existing green and gold Australian made kangaroo with a gauge symbol.
CHOICE wants careful consideration into labelling
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE which has been campaigning for changes in the country of origin labelling laws says it’s happy to hear about the announcement of the survey. The organisation’s spokesperson, Tom Godfrey, says CHOICE looks forward to the public feedback.
“The last thing we need is another flawed and confusing country of origin framework that does nothing more than tweak the status quo,” said Mr Godfrey.
“Consumers need to ask themselves if the images and the text phrases are meaningful and will ultimately help them make an informed decision about where their food is from,” he said.
The survey is open now until July 3 and can be accessed on the Department of Industry and Science website.