COUNTRY of origin labelling on food packaging would detail where the food is grown and produced, not where it is packaged, under a Greens proposal to be introduced to Federal Parliament today.
At present, if more than half of the packaging costs are incurred in Australia and goods have been substantially processed here, regardless of where the basic produce is from, the item can be labelled ''Made in Australia''.
Last year a review of Australia and New Zealand's food labelling laws recommended that for any food bearing some form of Australian claim ''a consumer-friendly, food-specific country-of-origin labelling framework, based primarily on the ingoing weight of the ingredients and components (excluding water), be developed''. It also made recommendations regarding food safety, public health and nutrition.
The Greens leader, Christine Milne, and the deputy leader, Adam Bandt, will move bills in both houses that will enact the recommendation.
"Australians want to know where the food they buy to feed their families is actually grown, but they know they can't trust current 'Made-in' labels," Senator Milne said.
"Farmers are also being dudded by current labelling laws, because they are not based on where the food is grown.''
The bill has the backing of the industry group AUSVEG, which represents 9000 vegetable growers. Its deputy chief executive, William Churchill, said current laws were too tied up in trade legislation.