Businesses have until 1 July 2018 to transition to a new system of country of origin labelling for food products in Australia. The incoming Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (Standard) imposes stricter labelling requirements on “priority”, as opposed to “non-priority”, foods and is intended to help consumers better understand where their food comes from.

Uncertainty comes as part and parcel of any regulatory overhaul and it’s too early to tell how some aspects of the new system will work in practice. Below, we summarise the key takeaways for those impacted to consider under the new regulations. Read the full update here for further analysis.

Key takeaways

  • Always bear in mind the overarching prohibition of conduct that is misleading or deceptive (or is likely to mislead or deceive), including when developing labelling to comply with the new system.
  • Non-priority foods (e.g., lollies, ice cream, biscuits, ready to drink coffee, wine etc.) are subject to less onerous labelling requirements than priority foods (priority foods being everything but for non-priority foods). However, if a business wants to use the green & gold Kangaroo symbol in relation to a non-priority food, it must comply with the stricter rules that apply to priority foods.
  • If a priority food claims to have been “made in Australia”, the specific nature of any minor overseas processing must also be declared on the label.
  • If your Australian ingredients are sent overseas for processing and re-imported into Australia, you may not be able to claim that your product is grown, produced or made in Australia.

If your business is in the process of updating its packaging to comply with the new Standard and has any questions, please get in touch with a member of our IP Team.