Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.2.11 - Country of Origin Requirements (Australia Only)

Link to law: https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012L00026

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Standard 1.2.11
 
Country of Origin Requirements
 
 
(Australia only)
 
Note:
 
Under Annex D of the Agreement Between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand Concerning a Joint Food Standards System, New Zealand has varied from this Standard.  Accordingly, this Standard does not apply in New Zealand.
 
Purpose
 
This Standard sets out the requirements for Country of Origin for packaged foods and certain unpackaged foods.
 
Table of Provisions
 
1            Application
2            Labelling requirements
 
Clauses
 
1            Application
 
(1)          For the matters regulated in this Standard, food must comply with this Standard or Standard 1.1A.3, but not a combination of, or parts of, both.
 
Editorial note:
 
The transitional country of origin Standard 1.1A.3 continues to operate in parallel to this Standard for a period of two years, with the exception of clauses 3, 4, 5 and 6 of that Standard, which will only operate for a period of 6 months.
 
In addition, subclause 1(2) of Standard 1.1.1 provides for a 12-month period of grace for compliance with new provisions in the Code. 
 
The net effect is that, from the commencement of Standard 1.2.11, manufacturers and retailers can continue to comply with Standard 1.1.A3 for a period of three years, except for the requirements in Clauses 3, 4 , 5 and 6.  For those foods, retailers can only continue to comply with those provisions for six months.  After that period, compliance with the requirements of subclauses 2(2) and 2(3) of this Standard will be required.
 
Alternatively, manufacturers and retailers may comply with Standard 1.2.11 from its commencement, or at any time from commencement.
(2)          This Standard does not affect the operation of Standard 2.7.5 concerning geographical indications.
 
(3)          This Standard does not apply to food sold to the public by restaurants, canteens, schools, caterers or self-catering institutions where the food is offered for immediate consumption.
 
(4)          The requirements in the Table to subclause 2(2) for fresh pork and preserved pork apply 12 months from the commencement of this Standard.
 
2            Labelling requirements
 
(1)          The foods listed in column 1 of the Table to this subclause must comply with the labelling requirements in relation to that food listed in column 2 of the Table.
 
Table to subclause 2(1)
 
Column 1
Column 2

Food
Labelling requirement

Packaged food (except that to which subclause 2(2) of this Standard applies)
(a) a statement on the package that identifies where the food was made or produced; or
(b) a statement on the package –
 
(i)   that identifies the country where the food was made, manufactured or packaged for retail sale; and
(ii)  to the effect that the food is constituted from ingredients imported into that country or from local and imported  ingredients as the case may be.

 
Editorial Note:
 
The provisions of subclause 2(1) follow the principles of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Commonwealth) and the Fair Trading Act 1986 (New Zealand) which contain requirements concerning the place of origin of goods. 
 
In particular, false or misleading representations concerning the place of origin of goods are prohibited.  Country of origin statements are a sub-set of place of origin.
 
In complying with this Standard, manufacturers and retailers should be consistent with trade practices law.  For Australia, the provisions of sections 65AA-AN of the Trade Practices Act 1974 govern statements as to the country of origin of goods.  There are requirements for the use of ‘product of’ representations and other statements as to country of origin, such as ‘made in’ or ‘manufactured in’ or other like statements.  These statements may only be used in the following circumstances –
 
(a)     ‘Product of’ is a premium claim and the country of origin claimed must be the country of origin of each significant ingredient of the food and all or virtually all the processes of production or manufacture of the goods must have happened in that country.
 
          ‘Product of’ includes other declarations such as ‘produce of’ and ‘produced in’.
 
(b)     ‘Made in’ – the goods must have been substantially transformed in the country claimed to be the origin and 50% of the costs of production must have been carried out in that country.  Under the Trade Practices provisions, substantial transformation is defined    as –
 
          ‘a fundamental change…in form or nature such that the goods existing after the change are new and different goods from those existing before the change’.
 
‘Made in’ includes other declarations such as ‘manufactured in’ or ‘Australian made’ for example.
 
Where it is not possible for a ‘Made in’ claim to be made, either due to uncertainty around the question of substantial transformation and whether 50% costs of production is met, or to adjust to seasonal changes in availability of individual ingredients, manufacturers may make a qualified claim.  Common examples of a qualified claim are ‘Made in Australia from imported ingredients’ or ‘Packaged in Australia from local and imported ingredients’.
 
The provisions of this Standard should also be read in conjunction with other applicable laws such as the State and Territory Fair Trading Acts and Food Acts.  These Acts contain provisions governing misleading and deceptive conduct in the supply of food in trade and commerce and representations about food that are misleading or deceptive.
 
Suppliers should, therefore, exercise caution in their country of origin declarations and ensure that the representations that are made are not compromised by conflicting information.  For example, having in large type on a label a map of Australia and the words ‘Proudly Australian Owned’ and in smaller type elsewhere on the label ‘Product of’ naming a different country, while technically compliant with this Standard, may still be misleading or deceptive.
 
Further information on country of origin claims may be found in ‘Food and Beverage Industry – country of origin guidelines to the Trade Practices Act’ available on the ACCC website.
 
All labelling must comply with the requirements of Standard 1.2.9, designed to ensure that food labels are clear.  Standard 1.2.9 provides that each word, statement, expression or design prescribed to be contained, written or set out in a label must, wherever occurring, be so contained, written or set out legibly and prominently such as to afford a distinct contrast to the background, and in the English language.
 
Subclause 2(2), below, of this Standard provides for the Country of Origin Labelling requirements for fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables which are displayed for retail sale in packages that do not obscure the nature or quality of the food, such as clear plastic or mesh bags.  Under Standard 1.2.1, with some exceptions, this form of packaging is generally exempt from the labelling requirements of the Code.  Country of Origin is one of those exceptions.
 
(2)          Subject to subclause 3, the foods listed and displayed in the manner described in column 1 of the Table to this subclause must comply with the labelling requirements in relation to that food listed in column 2 of the Table.
Table to subclause 2(2)
 
Column 1
Column 2

Food
Labelling requirement

Where the food is displayed for retail sale other than in a package
 
Fish, including cut fish, filleted fish, fish that has been mixed with one or more other foods and fish that has undergone any other processing including cooking, smoking,  drying,  pickling or coating with another food
 
 
 
A label on or in connection with the display of the  food –
 
(a) identifying the country or countries of origin of the food; or
(b) containing a statement indicating that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may be.
 

Fresh pork, whole or cut, except where the product has been mixed with food not regulated by this subclause
 
Pork, whole or cut, that has been preserved by curing, drying, smoking or by other means, except where that product has been mixed with food not regulated by this subclause (other than those foods used in the preserving)
 
A label on or in connection with the display of the  food –
 
(a) identifying the country or countries of origin of the food; or
(b) containing a statement indicating that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may.
 
 

Fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables
A label on or in connection with the display of the  food –
 
(a) identifying the country or countries of origin of the food; or
(b) containing a statement indicating that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may be.
 

Whole or cut fruit and vegetables where that produce has been preserved, pickled, cooked, frozen or dehydrated except where that produce has been mixed with  food not regulated by this subclause (other than with those foods used in the preserving, pickling or cooking as the case may be)
 
A label on or in connection with the display of the  food –
 
(a) identifying the country or countries of origin of the food; or
(b) containing a statement indicating that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may be.

Where the food is displayed for retail sale in a package that does not obscure the nature or quality of the food
 
Fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables
 
 
 
 
A label on the package or in connection with the display of the food –
 
(a) identifying the country or countries of origin of the food; or
(b) containing a statement indicating that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may be.

 
(3)          Where the food listed in Column 1 to the Table to subclause 2(2) is displayed for retail sale other than in a package, and the requirements of Column 2 are being met by a label in connection with the display of the food, in addition to the requirements of Standard 1.2.9, the label must be in size of type of at least 9 mm.
 
Editorial note:
 
Subclause 2(2) governs the country of origin requirements for fresh and processed unpackaged produce, or fresh produce that is packaged in such a way that the nature or quality of the food is not obscured, such as in a plastic or mesh bag, that are currently available on the market.
 
Retailers will have two options.  They may label the individual commodities, such as with a sticker, as is a common practice with apples, oranges and lemons etc.  Or they may place a label on a sign in association with the food in 9 mm type stating the country or countries of origin of the produce or make a ‘qualified claim’ that the foods are a mix of local and/or imported foods as the case may be.  This would commonly be the case with soup mixes of whole vegetables that are displayed for retail sale in a plastic bag.
 
If the mix comprises Australian produce and produce from other countries, the retailer can either declare each country of origin, or that the food is a mix of local and imported produce.
 
If the mix comprises produce from other countries, the retailer may either declare the individual countries of origin, or declare that the food is made up of imported produce.
 
This subclause also applies to unpackaged fish, fruit and vegetables that have undergone some form of processing.  In the case of fruit and vegetables, the subclause applies to food products such as olives that have been soaked in salt water or vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil or tofu.  Where those products have been mixed with other foods not regulated by the subclause, such as pasta, the country of origin provisions do not apply.
 
Standard 1.2.9 provides that each word, statement, expression or design prescribed to be contained, written or set out in a label must, wherever occurring, be so contained, written or set out legibly and prominently such as to afford a distinct contrast to the background, and in the English language.
 
Fruit and vegetables are defined in Standard 2.3.1, and that definition includes nuts.