From 1 July, our food labels are becoming clearer (yee-ha!). The Aussie government is making these changes so that we will all know – at a glance – where the products we buy are produced, grown, made or packed. This is great news for those of us extra conscious of what we put into our mouths and who want to support Aussie producers.

It’s been just under a year since the Australian Government announced its proposed new country-of-origin food labelling (CoOL) system, for packaged and unpackaged foods, which was the result of of extensive consultation with the food industry and consumers.

While we already have a mandatory CoOL for food, most of us have found the current labels confusing or unhelpful – do you know what the ‘made in’ and ‘product of’ labels really mean? We guess that you’ve probably been shaking your head over them for some time!

This new system, however, has been developed in order to deliver clearer and more consistent country-of-origin food labels without imposing excessive costs on the industry. The labels will also tell us what percentage of the ingredients come from Australia, which is very helpful for those of us wanting to buy more Australian products or ingredients that are Australian grown.

While the general consensus is that the new food labels are well overdue, they won’t appear all at once. The government is giving businesses a two-year transition period – to sell their current stock and change their labels – starting on 1 July 2016, so you can expect to see them gradually creeping in on the supermarket shelves.

Get the know the phrases…

  • Grown in Australia – This will be placed on food where 100 per cent of the ingredients are Australian grown.
  • Product of Australia – You’ll see this on all food where 100 per cent of the ingredients are Australian, and where all of the major processing has been done in this country.
  • Made in Australia – This label essentially means that all of the major processing has been done here. Imported foods that have only been sliced, canned, reconstituted or repackaged here cannot make this claim.
  • Packed in Australia – This label features only a bar chart that shows the percentage of Australian ingredients used.
  • Product of [country] – All imported foods produced, made, grown or packed outside of Australia will have their country of origin displayed on the label.

Mandatory food labels

Apart from helping us make much better decisions relating to the foods we buy, another advantage of these new food labels is they’re sure to aid in getting us in and out of the supermarkets a lot quicker, because we’ll be able to work out what we are purchasing much easier. And that has got to be a win-win for all!

So, what do you think of the new labels? Helpful or still confusing? And will you be buying more Aussie products as a result? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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