Sunday, May 30, 2010
Food labelling matters, because it allows consumers to make informed choices. It also enables campaigns that put pressure on manufacturers: Fair Trade certification allows us to give support to those who pay workers better, while campaigns against palm oil face problems due to the difficulty in working out which products contain palm oil.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) are currently reviewing food labelling laws. The final report is expected to be out early next year.
Currently, there are many problems with Australia's food labelling system. "Made in Australia" labels can be misleading, food standards are often set at the lowest common international level, and the body responsible for food health and safety standards (including labelling) is torn between a public health focus and a focus on promoting commerce and international trade. If you'd like to learn more, there's a great Background Briefing program about the problems with our existing food labelling system and what's happening with the review here.
If you care about food labelling and want to know where your food comes from and what's in it, you can also make a submission to the food labelling review at the website.
Photo courtesy of The Labour Party.