Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today announced a landmark agreement had been reached between retailers to adopt Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) on all imported single source lines of fresh, unpackaged produce, effective immediately.
Where multiple supply sources are involved, such as a result of seasonal change or local supply shortage, it was agreed that the retail sector would endeavour to clearly identify each country of origin in the line.
“Labelling of fresh produce from Australia and New Zealand will follow in a relatively short timeframe,” Mr Chance said.
The Minister praised retailer representatives from Coles Myer Ltd, Woolworths Limited, Herdsman Fresh Essentials, Independent Action Group and Foodland Associated Limited whom he met with today for responding to community concerns about fresh food labelling requirements.
“The retailers I met with today view Country of Origin Labelling as the only acceptable way to inform their customers about where their food comes from,” Mr Chance said.
“They agreed to adopt CoOL for single source fruit and vegetable lines in Western Australia ahead of mandatory requirements.”
The Minister said it was important to note that some retailers were already adopting CoOL and that only a small proportion - between two and five per cent - of fresh produce in WA was imported.
He said the agreement today would raise the quality of fresh food retailing in WA for labelling requirements and benefit consumers and local producers.
“Their agreement today sends a very clear signal to the Federal Government and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand that labelling requirements must be strengthened and not weakened,” Mr Chance said.
“The WA Government supports mandatory Country of Origin labelling because it is good for WA consumers and producers.”
“The Gallop Government will be doing all in its power to ensure that the Howard Government does not proceed with its plans to water down existing food labelling laws.”
Minister's office: 9213 6700