70 percent of bacon and ham sold in Australia is imported: Australian Pork

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According to Australian Pork, 70 percent of bacon and ham products sold in Australian supermarkets is imported, and poor country-of-origin labelling makes it difficult for consumers to distinguish between local and imported products.

The industry body says that at present, labelling legislation allows the imported bacon and ham to be labelled as “Made in Australia” as long as the product has undergone a “substantial transformation,” The Weekly Times reports.

According to the ACCC website, The term “substantially transformed” means that the goods in question have been substantially transformed in a country as long as they undergo a fundamental change in that country in form, appearance or nature, so that the goods existing after the change are new and different goods from those existing before the change.

Andrew Spencer, chief executive of Australian Pork yesterday gave evidence at the House of Representatives Agriculture and Industry Committee public hearing, stating that the term “substantial transformation” needs to be reviewed if labelling is to become more in line with consumer expectations.

“The Australian Made Australian Grown Logo Code of Practice, for example doesn’t allow use of the “Australian Made” logo on imported bacon or ham due to consumer confusion over its meaning and we believe the regulated claims need to be similarly changed,” he said.

The Australian Made campaign also stood before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry in Canberra last week, stating that an effective country-of-origin labelling system that is both understood and trusted by consumers, will help combat companies that are “attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin.”

“…We again recommended that the regulations under Australian Consumer Law fall into line with the more stringent rules for using the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, thereby eradicating some of the loopholes that currently exist,” said Australian Made chief executive Ian Harrison.

“Food products with high levels of imported content which undergo simple processing in Australia cannot use the green-and-gold Australian Made logo, and neither should they be able to claim that they were manufactured here under Australian Consumer Law.