Food labelling in 2011

Two years ago, Food Standards Australia New Zealand set up an expert panel to look at our food labels, and how they could be improved.

The panel came up with 61 excellent and wide-ranging recommendations for improving our labels--improved allergy labelling, disclosure of palm oil, trans fat, traffic light labels etc

But unfortunately, our government has rejected most of them

It says mandatory labelling ‘conflicts with our free trade liberalisation agenda,’ and could be perceived to be an ‘unfair trading barrier.’

This is nonsense, as most of our trading partners have far better food labels than we do, including mandatory country of origin labelling of food. But it shows how our government puts the interests of free trade ahead of the interests of consumers.

The only recommendationa the Australian and New Zealand governments accepted was for labels on alcohol warning of foetal alcohol syndrome, and some form of mandatory front of pack labelling.

Our government has set up a working group to look at this issue, and the two governments will make a decision at the end of the year on whether to introduce front of pack labelling, and if so, in what form.

Astonishingly, the two governments didn't even agree to adopt a standard on Nutrition and Health labelling which they have been working on for 16 years!!! So there's still no regulatory underpinning nutrition claims, and so consumers can have no confidence that health and nutrition claims on food are true. 



Sue Kedgley