Go for gold country of origin labels to buy Australian-made products

AUSSIE-MADE: Melinda Hooton and Farrer MP Sussan Ley at the country of origin label demonstration at Albury Woolworths on Friday. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

AUSSIE-MADE: Melinda Hooton and Farrer MP Sussan Ley at the country of origin label demonstration at Albury Woolworths on Friday. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

A new labelling system forcing supermarkets to make it clear how much of products were made and packaged in Australia could lead to an increase in shoppers buying local.

The familiar kangaroo logo signifying Australian-made will be seen on packages, but its presence does not automatically mean the products are Australian.

Shoppers will have to look at the bar under the logo – the more gold there is, the more Australian the product.

Farrer MP Sussan Ley stopped by Albury Woolworths on Friday, where staff were explaining the new system to customers.

“If you see the barcode that’s completely yellow, filled in 100 per cent, you know that food is 100 per cent Australian … it’s a really easy visual cue for shoppers,” she said.

“I think this will lead to more people buying Australian, which is what we want. Unashamedly I want to support our local farmers, our local food producers, our local manufacturers and I want everyone to choose them first – but I’m not telling them they have to.”

Country of origin labels must be on all food sold in businesses except restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops and schools.

The requirements were introduced in July 2016 with a two-year transition period, giving businesses time to sell existing stock while making the change.

Ms Ley said Albury businesses were happy to be able to point to Australian products.

“There is from time to time a little bit of an impost on those who might have to produce different labels, but overwhelmingly manufacturers are supporting this,” she said.

“We’re solving this vexed issue of food labelling.

“We live in the food bowl of Australia, but everyone doesn’t always know where their food comes from so by having proper labels on the products you buy in your supermarket, you can tell whether it’s 100 per cent Australia, made in Australia, packed in Australia or not Australian at all.”

Melinda Hooton was at Woolworths explaining the country of origin labels and said shoppers were interested in learning how the system worked and what it meant for businesses.

“I think it’s a good way to get the message across … people want to buy Australian products,” she said.

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