Australia’s new food labelling helps consumers support local farmers and businesses

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Blueberries
Blueberries are seen in a field at state farm "Polesskie zhuraviny" (Polessye blueberries) near the village of Selishche, southwest of Minsk, July 21, 2014. Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

Smart Berries Australia has joined other local companies in rolling out the country’s new Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL). The move now makes it easier for consumers to support Australian farmers and businesses.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Luke Hartsuyker and Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, visited Smart Berries' Mundubbera farm in Boynewood to observe the new CoOL changes. Hartsuyker said it was wonderful to see Smart Berries Australia, one Australia’s largest and innovative berry growers, taking ownership of the changes before the new labels are required, as it is setting an example for other businesses.

The minister said consumers want to know where their food is made and packed, and that is what the latest CoOL system does. It also makes it easier for Aussie shoppers to support local businesses and know how much has been sourced from Australian farmers. According to its website, Smart Berries only grow and pack the “best tasting and yummiest varieties of berries.”

Hartsuyker praised Smart Berries, saying the producer recognises the benefits of making customers aware of where their products come from. Doing so is an effective way to differentiate from imported products. "For most food made, grown or produced in Australia, labels will feature the kangaroo in a triangle symbol and a bar chart indicating the percentage of Australian ingredients," he added.

O'Dowd said he was happy to visit the Mundubbera farm and hear about the progress they are making with the CoOL system. He urged other businesses in Flynn and across Australia to embrace the new reforms.

He also acknowledged that Smart Berries Mundubbera farm is one of the largest blueberry farms here, and consumers can find their blueberries in major shopping centres and markets across the country.

"I thank Smart Berries and their team at the Mundubbera farm for being leaders in informing their customers and showing the way to other businesses who haven't yet implemented the new system,” O'Dowd said in a media release. He noted that there is a range of assistance accessible to help businesses with the process.

For instance, an online tool can help businesses determine the right labelling for their products. The tool as well as other support for business can be found at business.gov.au/foodlabels. Business owners can also contact 13 28 46. For consumers, further information is available at foodlabels.industry.gov.au.

ABC Action News/YouTube

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