CEO of Australian Made campaign not 100 per cent behind “Made in Australia” Bill

Posted by Isobel Drake on 6th October 2009

As the Senate continues to look into the prospect of food labelling changes, the head of the Australian Grown, Australian Made campaign has admitted that it’s not practical to expect Australian-labelled food to be 100 per cent local.

Ian Harrison, Chief Executive of the campaign, yesterday gave evidence to a Senate inquiry that is seeking to ascertain the merits of a bill seeking to only allow the word “Australian” to be used on products if they are 100 per cent produced in Australia.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon introduced the bill to improve food laws that he views as a “sad joke” but Mr Harrison has now joined the Australian Food and Grocery Council in indicating that the proposal is too simplistic.

“There’s far too wide a range of products that require some imported components, simply because the ingredients aren’t continuously available in Australia or in some cases, spices and things like that, not available at all in Australia,” he told the ABC.

He did, however, believe there was a need for improvements to the current country-of-origin labelling legislation.

The AFGC, leading representative of food manufacturers in the country, outlined similar sentiments when the bill was first introduced to the Senate.

“Extending this requirement to 100 per cent of products makes no sense and will mean that virtually no food manufactured in Australia will be able to use the term “Australian Made” due to the use of small amounts of imported additives, flavours or colours,” AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell advised. “Senator Xenophon’s proposed Bill demonstrates a populist and short-sighted approach to food labelling – the labelling proposal is also at odds with Australia’s food standards.”