Labelling changes a big win for Riverina farmers, shoppers

RIVERINA farmers and consumers will benefit from better information about the origin of food thanks to sweeping changes unveiled today by the Federal Government, The Nationals’ Riverina MP Michael McCormack says.

“The new system of labelling is a sensible, easy-to-understand indicator of how much of a product is grown or produced in Australia,” Mr McCormack said.

“These changes provide continuity and will enable consumers to have more information about whether or not their products are Australian.”

Mr McCormack said the new system will also provide a boost for Riverina farmers.

“Our region’s farmers are some of the best and most productive in the world, so this system will ensure our local product will be more easily identifiable in supermarkets,” Mr McCormack said.

“The charts will also take into consideration the seasonal variation of production, to ensure consumers can make more informed choices about buying fresh, local food at the supermarket.

Delivered under the Government’s $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the system will require many foods found on Australian shelves to use a kangaroo in a triangle logo to indicate the food is grown, made or produced in Australia. This will be complemented by a bar chart, indicating the proportion of Australian ingredients.

“A proper system of Country of Origin Labelling is something many people have raised with me as I am out and about in the country’s food bowl, the Riverina. I am pleased this issue, which The Nationals have championed for years, will soon be delivered under our historic Ag White Paper,” Mr McCormack said.

“This will give farmers a fairer go, shoppers more information and support local jobs in regional communities.”

The reforms will be introduced from 1 July, with labels expected to appear in shops later this year.

Cristy Houghton