In the same week that Country of Origin labelling becomes mandatory, an outbreak of listeria in imported frozen vegetables shows the importance of buying local Australian products.
“We know that there can be dangers in imported frozen vegetables – we’ve seen it before with imported frozen berries,” said AMWU National Food Secretary Jason Hefford.
“Now we’re seeing it again with frozen vegetables imported from Europe.
“The reality is that no country in the world has safer or cleaner food standards than Australia – not even Europe.”
July 1 has seen the introduction of the second and final phase of Country of Origin food labelling across all foods in Australia – moving to mandatory labels and the ACCC being able to enforce compliance.
“Being able to trust the food that you and your family eat is crucial,” said Mr Hefford.
“Australian food manufacturing is the best in the world – and consumers know this.
“Survey after survey shows that Australian food products are preferred by Australians and consumers around the world – because of the quality and safety. Country of Origin labels will mean that finally consumers are given clarity over what they are buying.”
The AMWU was part of a group of organisations that has been calling for mandatory, enforceable, clear labelling for many years.
“There have long been muddy waters over the terms ‘grown in’, ‘made in’, and ‘packed in’ which can make it difficult for consumers to know exactly what they are getting,” said Mr Hefford.
“The new system will help consumers to know, and the union applauds the fact that it is now enforceable.
“Following yet another scandal in imported frozen food, we call on all the major supermarkets to recognise that Australia-grown and made is best. Right now, Australians are working to pack Australia-grown frozen vegetables.
“Woolworths, ALDI and IGA (Black and Gold) should switch their suppliers away from European imports to the local product. Then they could provide certainty to consumers and support Australian jobs and Australian farmers at the same time.”