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The government has begun evaluating Australia’s country of origin food labelling since its new measures came into effect in 2018. Both industry stakeholders and consumers are called to participate in a survey as part of the evaluation.

The country of origin food labelling standard was reviewed in 2016, with the new system working to its full extent from 2018. The labels aim to help identify where food is grown, produced, made or packed.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the evaluation of the new system would help determine how effective the labels are in aiding Australians.

“Consumers made it known they wanted to understand in a clear and simple way where their food is grown and processed,” said Andrews.

“While this evaluation was planned since the reforms were introduced, it is particularly timely as COVID-19 has seen a ground-swell in support for Australian Made food.

“This is about making sure consumers are being given the tools they need to make an informed choice, without crippling Australian businesses with unreasonable and expensive labelling expectations.”

The evaluation will consider if the labels are helping consumers make more informed choices, as well as “clarifying the origin claims that businesses can make, while avoiding excessive costs for businesses which will be passed onto shoppers”.

Surveys, consumer focus groups and interviews with industry and government will all be part of the consultation, with a discussion paper also an opportunity for industry professionals and consumers to provide their views.

The discussion paper is available until 11 September and can be accessed here.

The evaluation is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

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