This Australia Day weekend, Greens Leader Christine Milne is ramping up the campaign for country of origin food labelling to support Australian farmers and workers.
Senator Milne has announced that she will re-introduce the Greens bill for mandatory labelling as soon as parliament returns.
"Australia's farmers and food manufacturers are under pressure. Everyone wants to support our farmers and workers by buying local products but our current labelling is too confusing," said Senator Milne.
"Every party says it supports a simpler system, but finds every excuse, every time, to find fault with the legislation as a way of appeasing big corporations.
"It's time the other parties were honest with Australian farmers and food manufacturers and chose them, rather than the big corporates.
"Currently it's simply not clear where everything comes from and there is potential for misleading and manipulative packaging.
"The Greens' bill will remove the confusion by establishing clear labels for country of origin claims.
"I'm calling on all parties and for all Australians to get behind country of origin food labelling this Australia Day to support farmers and local food production," said Senator Milne.
"This should be a no brainer. It's so straight forward and is something the entire nation and parliament can get behind."
Under the Greens bill:
· ‘Product of' or ‘grown in' - will be used to describe food that has been wholly grown and processed in a country.
· ‘Manufactured in' - will replace ‘made in' for food that has been substantially transformed in a particular country. The term ‘made in' will no longer be used as many people think that ‘made in' refers to where the ingredients were grown.
· ‘Packaged in' - will be used on food that has been highly processed but can't claim to have either ingredients of significant processing in a particular country. Companies can still choose to highlight the source of significant ingredients if they wish.
· All the other confusing terms such as ‘made from local and imported ingredients' will be prohibited.
· Companies will also be encouraged to highlight significant local ingredients to help you choose local - eg. chocolate ‘Manufactured in Australia with Australian milk'.
· The Greens will also provide a regulation that makes it clear what kinds of food processing does not qualify as manufacturing. This is important as manufacturing typically involves significant investment in local equipment and jobs, which is what Australians want to reward.