A BILL seeking to change country of origin labelling will misled consumers and possibly damage export markets.Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Gary Dawson today said the bill from the Greens would bar companies from using 'Made in Australia' even if products were manufactured in the country.
"Under this Bill, which solely focuses on the origin of food ingredients, chocolate produced in a factory in Tasmania would not be able to carry 'Made in Australia' on its label because a key ingredient, cocoa, has to be imported," he said.
"This is despite the factory mixing and transforming ingredients to make chocolate and employing many people in that process.
"It is also conceivable that under the Greens proposal, Australian wheat that is shipped to China, processed and transformed into noodles, packaged and imported back into Australia could carry 'Made of Australian ingredients' on its label, duping consumers into thinking it had been manufactured here.
"If we are to capitalise on the export opportunities presented in Asia in coming decades, we need a competitive domestic food processing industry. Yet this Bill has the potential to penalise food manufacturers and hamper efforts through increased regulatory compliance and costs.
"Certainly any additional regulation or impost that adds to costs runs a high risk of pushing production and jobs offshore."
Mr Dawson will give evidence to a Senate Committee examining the Bill today in Hobart.