The following information has been provided by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Imported Food Notice IFN 03-18 – Country of Origin Labelling from 1 July 2018 and is forwarded for your attention.
The purpose of this notice is to advise food importers that the new requirements for declaring the country of origin on food labelling will be verified during border inspections from 1 July 2018.
What has changed?
The two year transition period for the food industry to migrate from the country of origin labelling requirements contained within the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 comes to an end on 30 June 2018. All food packaged up to the 30 June 2018 will be assessed as compliant if it complies with either the Information Standard or the Food Standards Code.
All food packaged from 1 July 2018 must comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016. The department will be regulating food imported to Australia for compliance with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 from 1 July 2018. The Imported Food Control Act 1992 has been amended to provide the legislative basis for the department to assess imported food for compliance.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published a range of tools to assist the food industry in complying with the new labelling requirements. The following publications are available for download:
- Country of Origin Food Labelling guide
- Country of Origin Food Labelling factsheet
- Information on country of origin claims
- General information on the new requirements
- Style guide video to explain the labelling
Department inspection activity
The department will assess food imported to Australia for compliance with the new Information Standard where the food was packaged from 1 July 2018. If the imported product was packaged before 1 July 2018 and complied with the Food Standard Code, a manufacturer declaration or a statutory declaration by the importer must be supplied to the food inspection officer at the time of the food inspection. The department will include the following in their assessment of the food labelling:
- Importers are required to ensure that the food labelling contains a country of origin claim within a box for ‘priority’ food so that this information can be easily found by consumers. For example:
- Non priority food also requires a country of origin labelling claim but this does not need to be in a box.
The classification of “priority” and “non- priority “ food can be found in the Country of Origin Food Labelling guide on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.
The food labelling may also show the percentage of Australian-produced content in the imported food. For example:
The Information Standard, which contains many examples of the new labelling for imported foods, is available from the Federal Register of Legislation.
Where food labelling is found to be non-compliant, the products may be either re-labelled, exported or destroyed.