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Farmers support improved labelling

9 June 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Brent Finlay has welcomed the Government’s commitment to improve the Country of Origin Labelling arrangements.

Public concern over country of origin labelling has resulted in numerous inquiries, reports and proposals in recent years and finally the Government has listened to farmers and consumers on the need to improve the domestic labelling requirements. The NFF has been engaged in the consultation process to date and now is the chance for people to have their say on simpler and more logical ways to present the information.

The government has come up with a series of options (6) that could be used on food and beverage labels with the aim of clearly communicating that the product was made, grown or manufactured in Australia or how much of the ingredients in the product are locally grown.

We know it’s not as easy as it sounds but we must have a system that improves consumers understanding where their food comes from so they can make informed decisions.

“From a farm business perspective labelling laws must be practical to implement, not impose unreasonable costs, and must not lead to adverse trade implications” said Mr Finlay.

Any improved labelling arrangements must remember that Australia is a net food exporter and must have a system that is equitable and does not compromise our significant export markets. We must also remember that the vast majority of Australian Agricultural produce is exported and whilst this announcement is welcomed for the domestic market we also need to develop a national brand for Australia's agricultural exports.

“Australian farmers want consumers to have clarity and make informed choices on the products on the shelves and the NFF will continue working with Government on the arrangements to ensure they are equitable, clear and continue to provide Australian farmers with improved market access” said Mr Finlay.

The NFF congratulates Agriculture Minister Joyce and Industry Minister MacFarlane on their intent and encourages farmers and the community to complete the country of origin food labelling community survey which is available at www.industry.gov.au/cool. Hardcopies can be requested by calling 13 28 46.

ENDS

Contact NFF Media on 0408 448 250 or for further information.

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