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Farmers: food labels leaving consumers 'in the dark'

Some designs flagged to tell consumers what they need to know about the products they buy.
Some designs flagged to tell consumers what they need to know about the products they buy.

AUSTRALIA'S peak industry body representing vegetable farmers across the nation says current food labelling laws are confusing and misleading.

AUSVEG says new labelling reforms being considered must ensure meaningful changes are implemented that will tell consumers where a product has been manufactured and processed and where the main ingredients are from.

The Federal Government announced a plan earlier this year to overhaul food labelling laws following a hepatitis A outbreak which was linked to frozen berries imported from China.

AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy said the reforms are long overdue.

"Overwhelmingly those we interviewed believed that the 'Made In Australia' label meant products were genuinely from Australia including ingredients, but that is actually not the case," he said.

"Australia's current system of country of origin labelling on food is failing consumers and it leaves them completely in the dark about where their food is actually coming from."

Mr Mulcahy said the organisation had launched a social media campaign using the Twitter hashtag #coolchange to ensure any reforms were effective, clear and user friendly.

"There is a clear disconnect between what consumers want to know and the jargon they are being fed by packaging," he said.

"Under our current system, some food manufacturers are able to pull the wool over consumers' eyes by using ambiguous and misleading claims to obscure the actual origin of ingredients."

The Federal Government is expected to announce possible changes to labelling laws after the winter parliamentary break following months of consultation with consumer, business and agriculture groups.

Topics:  ausveg farmers food food labelling



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