The Australian Greens today have called on Labor and the Coalition to support changes to food labelling laws in the wake of concerns Simplot could close facilities in both Tasmania and NSW due to falling profits.
"We know consumers want to support Australian farmers and producers but the current food labelling rules are just too confusing," said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, spokesperson for trade and competition policy.
"A vital step the old parties can take to support our producers and food industry is to back a Greens Bill to change food labelling laws.
The Greens' Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Country of Origin Food Labelling) Bill extends country of origin labelling to all food for retail sale and simplifies labelling.
"The changes would mean consumers will be able to identify whether products are Australian grown or manufactured, and the misleading claims like ‘made from local and imported ingredients' would be prohibited," he continued.
"The changes would also encourage companies to highlight local ingredients in their labels.
"The Bill is the result of extensive consultation with consumer groups, manufacturers and farmers and the consumer advocacy group CHOICE worked particularly closely with Senator Milne on developing this bill.
"Additionally, I would like to see cheap imported food with label and certification requirements as well given consumers also have the right to know what goes into imported food when they make their purchase decisions.
"Our producers and the food industry need these changes so Australians can support our safe, clean, and premium products right here at home," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.