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Farmers welcome sensible response to food labelling review

1 December 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the Government’s response to the review of food labelling, calling the response a sensible step that balances the need for consumer information with the practicalities of implementation.

“We’re certainly supportive of efforts to improve the labelling of food purchased by Australian consumers, as we agree that shoppers should be provided with clear information to help make informed food choices,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.

“We also think that Australian farmers should have every opportunity to showcase the safe, affordable and nutritious food they produce, so that they can capitalise on our reputation as one of the highest quality food producers in the world.

“The issue is in how we go about achieving this. The NFF is keen to ensure that any labelling law changes do not lead to excessive costs to implement – costs that will be passed back to farmers in the form of lower prices for their produce.

“We’re very pleased to see the Government demonstrate that they too are prepared to resist changes that will burden the farm sector – changes that, should they have gone ahead, would otherwise add a whole new level of food labelling requirements, and unnecessary cost and complexity to food labelling.

“The Government’s response, particularly in relation to key areas such as new food technology, GM and country of origin labelling, is mainly positive for farmers in finding the right balance between providing consumer with information without adding unnecessary costs,” Mr Laurie said.

“We’re also welcoming of the fact that the Government remains committed to addressing country-of-origin labelling, but doing this as a separate discussion, away from the 60 plus recommendations made by the current review.

“Country of origin labelling is an area that most Australian farmers feel strongly about, and it deserves special attention, rather than being lost in among this comprehensive review.

“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with Government on this issue as the deliberations around the food labelling laws continue,” Mr Laurie said.

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