Country of Origin Labelling for Fresh Produce

Country of Origin Labelling of fresh produce is required by law.

The relevant legislation requires that ALL fresh or packed fruit and vegetables must have a label identifying the country or countries where the food was grown or packaged.

Or there must be a sign connected to the display that identifies this information.

The legislation is designed to protect the consumer from false or misleading claims by growers, wholesalers or retailers.

The legislation is very specific about how this information must be displayed, the size and legibility of the labels and signs. Significant fines may apply for breaches of legislation.

 

 

  To find out more about Country of Origin Labelling scroll down the page: 

 

 

 

Introduction to Country of Origin Labelling of Fruit and Vegetables

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Unpackaged and packaged fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables displayed for retail sale must have a label on the items, or on a sign connected to the displays, that identifies the country or countries of origin of the food.

Country of origin Labelling is regulated through Standard 1.2.11 under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The requirements for labelling of fruit and vegetables began on 8 June 2006.

Under the Food Standards Code the terms 'fruit and vegetables' includes nuts, spices, herbs, fungi, legumes and seeds.

Highlights of the Labelling Requirements at Retail Store Level

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The salient points of the legislation include:

Unpacked and Packaged Fruit and Vegetables

  • All fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables must have a country of origin label on the item or connected to the display of that item
  • The country of origin of each specific type of fruit or vegetable displayed must be labelled. For example, Granny Smith Apples - 'Product of China', Fuji Apples - 'Product of Australia'

Processed Fruits and Vegetables

  • Preserved, pickled, cooked, frozen or dehydrated fruits and vegetables that are unpackaged and are not mixed with other foods, require a label on or in connection with the display of the food that identifies the country or countries of origin of the food.
  • The retailer must identify the country of origin of each specific type of fruit or vegetable they display for sale. For example, Unpackaged Dried Apricots - 'Product of Iran', Unpackaged Dates - 'Product of Turkey'

Labelling a Mix of Fruit or Vegetables

  • For mixed fruit or vegetables, the label in connection with the display must state each country in which the food was produced, or make a qualified claim
  • The qualified claim may state either that the food is a 'mix of local and imported foods' or a 'mix of imported foods' as the case may be. This requirement also applies to a mix of fruit or vegetables that come from several countries. For example, a display of lemons that contains lemons from both Australia and the USA mixed together, can be labelled with the statement 'Product of Australia and Product of USA' or 'Mix of local and imported'.

Size and Legibility of the Labels

  • The statements on the labels must be in English, visible, legible to the average consumer and distinct from the background.
  • A label in connection with the display must be in a type size of at least 9mm.

Fruit and Vegetables Identified with Individual Self Adhesive Labels

  • Some fruit and vegetables may already carry an individual sticker indicating the country of origin of the food. These foods would therefore meet the requirements of the legislation.

 

Locating Country of Origin Information

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  • Usually a retailer will find country of origin information on the carton or package the product is supplied in. Or on the Invoice.
  • If this information cannot be located, the supplier should be asked to supply it.
  • Suppliers are obliged to provide country of origin information.

Penalties for Non Compliance

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  • It is an offence to label or advertise food in a manner that is likely to mislead or deceive customers about the country of origin of the food.
  • Such offences can include claiming that food is a mix of local and imported foods when it contains only imported or only imported food.
  • The use of logos, pictures and maps that are likely to mislead or disceive the consumer in relation to the true country of origin of the food is also an offence.
  • On-the-spot fines for non compliance with the code range from $440 to $880.
  • Fines for false and misleading clains range from $770 to $1540.
  • The Food Act 2003 provides for penalties of up to $55,000 for individuals and $275,00 for corporations where serious breaches are prosecuted in a court of law.

Please Note

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The information contained on this page is provided for the general interest of our customers. We do not provide interpretations of the legislation affecting Country of Origin labelling.

Customers should seek professional advice on how this legislation may affect their business. Copies of the legislation are generally available from your local Government Bookshop or online.

It is beyond the scope of this web site to enter into discussions on this legislation.