ACCC to launch consumer guidance on Country of Origin labelling

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th October 2012

Australian Competition and Consumer Chairman Rod Sims announced this week that the ACCC would take new steps to provide consumers with clearer advice about Country of Origin labelling.

The ACCC did not believe there was a problem with the current classifications, but a problem with consumers’ understanding of what the classifications ‘Made in Australia’ or ‘Product of Australia’ meant. The ACCC says it will release consumer advice to ‘clarify’ the differences between different Country of Origin labeling descriptions.

In a speech to the Australian Food & Grocery Council in Canberra, Mr Sims addressed the importance of consumers having access to clear and understandable guidance on the claims made on labels, packaging and in advertising about where products have been made or grown.

Mr Sims said that consumers should not be questioning the ‘validity’ of ‘Made in Australia’ claims if they are in fact, looking for a product fully from Australian sources – and that they should be looking for a ‘Product of Australia’ label.

“The ACCC is therefore releasing consumer friendly advice to decode the various origin claims of Made in Australia, Product of Australia and Grown in Australia,” said Mr Sims.

The ACCC will also launch a buying guide for consumers which provides information about different grades of olive oil products and how they differ.

The ACCC’s advice follows enforcement action earlier this year. In May 2012, the Big Olive Company Pty Ltd paid two infringement notices totalling $13,200 for labelling products as ‘extra virgin olive oil’ that the ACCC considered were not.