AFGC welcomes deferral of labelling decision

Posted by Isobel Drake on 16th July 2009

The Federal Government demonstrated a commonsense approach by deferring a decision on front of pack labelling of foods for 12 months, Australia’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, has said.

The Government and all states and territories have agreed to a comprehensive review of labelling laws in Australia, chaired by the Victorian Government. It’s understood the terms of reference for the review have been agreed and the findings are expected by the middle of next year.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell believes it sensible that any decisions by Government on front-of-pack labelling be seen as part of the current review.

“Rather than waiting for the outcome of the review, industry has taken a proactive approach by introducing Daily Intake Guides after reviewing food labelling systems from around the world,” she added.

“Since being introduced in 2006 in Australia, Daily Intake Guide labelling has proved extremely effective and is now being progressively rolled-out by Woolworths, Coles, ALDI and IGA as well as on their private labels,” Ms Carnell said.

A Newspoll survey of 1200 people found 74 per cent of consumers were aware of the labelling system, with 66 per cent saying it was easily understood. Ms Carnell said now that shoppers were familiar with food labelling, the next step was to ensure consumers understood how to use the nutritional information.

“AFGC and its retail partners will begin rolling out user-friendly consumer education material in retail outlets towards the end of year,” Ms Carnell advised.

The AFGC highlighted that adopting a single and uniform front of pack labelling system was the most effective way for shoppers to understand nutritional values of products, according to research by the UK Food Standards Agency.