Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan said consumers in the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley will soon benefit from clearer, simpler information about where products come from.
Mr Hogan said new country of origin food labels will begin to appear on supermarket shelves later this year.
“It is important to ensure consumers have the information they need to make informed choices about the products they buy,” he said.
In February, the Government established a review of Australia’s Country of Origin Labelling laws.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce unveiled the changes on Tuesday.
Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said the new food labelling system will show consumers where products are made, grown or packaged.
“Foods processed locally will have a new label which includes the familiar green and gold kangaroo and triangle icon, with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients are from Australia,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“This will include, for example, ‘Made in Australia from 100% Australian ingredients’, ‘Packed in Australia, Made in Canada’ and ‘Made in Australia from Australian carrots and French peas’”.
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said companies will be encouraged to provide additional information on their labels such as naming the origin of a number of key ingredients.
“The green and gold triangle design was the overwhelming preference of more than 17,800 respondents to the Government’s food labelling community survey,” Mr Joyce said.
“The new labels will be easy for shoppers to identify. Consumers will no longer have to search for the country of origin information hidden in small print.” Consumers in the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers and across Australia will be able to make a quick comparison of products on the shelves. Digital options are also being developed so consumers who want more detailed information can get it.
These reforms will also clarify the definition of ‘made in’ Australia. Importing ingredients and simply slicing them will no longer qualify for a ‘made in’ claim.
Under the new scheme, if product is imported into Australia and then re-packed, the label will identify where the item came from.
The Commonwealth Government will continue to work with the States and Territories, whose agreement is required to roll out the new labels.
Mr Hogan said an initial voluntary take-up of the country of origin food labels will mean shoppers across Australia including in the Clarence and Northern Rivers should see changes on the shelves later this year.
“The mandatory rollout will commence in 2016, providing manufacturers with time to implement the new scheme,” he said.
“I encourage all those interested in further information on country of origin labelling to visit www.industry.gov.au/cool.”