Country of Origin (CoOL) Labelling


The information below is sourced from various organisations.

 

From 1 July 2018, most of the foods you buy will need to display new country of origin labels. Look out for these labels on food packages or in-store signage. Different labelling requirements apply depending on:

  • whether the food is grown, produced, made or packed in Australia or another country
  • whether the food is a ‘priority’ or ‘non-priority’ food
  • how the food is displayed for sale.

You will find country of origin labelling on most food you buy at the supermarket, local stores, markets, online or from a vending machine. Food bought from restaurants, cafes, take-away shops, schools and caterers does not have to be labelled.

 

Before you start

You will be asked a series of questions about your food product, how it will be sold and where its ingredients were grown, produced or made. Please complete the ‘Before you start checklist’ for a list of information you may need to help you answer these questions.

Start the checklist

Access the online tool

The Country of Origin Labelling online tool is now available. Please allow at least 15 minutes for each food product when using the tool.

Please note that the tool is a guide only and you should exercise your own judgement and care when using the tool. Your response to each question will determine the label the tool recommends. The information provided through the tool should not be regarded as legal advice and you should consider seeking your own legal advice as appropriate.

Note: if you would like to use a label that is permitted or required by the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 but it is not available through the online tool, you may wish to consider designing your own label using the Country of Origin Label Library.

 

 

How the online tool works

The tool will recommend one of three new labelling outcomes:

Note that the tool can only generate standard marks for you.

Each time you use the online tool, it will capture a summary of your responses in a PDF document so you can keep it for your records. You can generate this summary by clicking on the ‘Summary’ button on the last screen of each session.

You can save your progress at any time by clicking on the ‘Save’ button. This will let you save the link in your web browser bookmarks or favourites. You can also email the link to yourself to return to the questionnaire later.

When you finish the questions you can choose a standard mark from one or more options. Please follow the screen text instructions on setting the standard mark and use the ‘Preview’ button to check it before clicking the ‘Download’ button.

When you click ‘Download’ a new window will pop-up for you to open or save the standard mark.

Standard mark

A standard mark is the new label that has:

  • the kangaroo, bar chart and explanatory text, or
  • bar chart and explanatory text only.

The tool can generate PDF or PNG standard marks in portrait or landscape.

Examples of standard marks:

Sample label showing Kangaroo icon, bar chart and the text Made in Australia from at least 90% Australian Ingredients   Sample label showing a bar chart and the text Packed in Australia from at least 70% Australian ingredients.   Sample label showing a bar chart and the text Grown in France Packed in Australia.  Sample label showing a kangaroo triangle symbol, barchart and the text Grown in Australia.

Not all products will need a mandatory standard mark label, but for some products use of the standard mark label is optional.

Certain products cannot use a standard mark label and will need a country of origin statement instead.

Country of origin statement

A country of origin statement is an explanation of where a food product came from. These labels are used for products that can’t use or do not need to use a standard mark label.

The tool will not generate the statement for you but will show you how to create your own country of origin statement.

Examples of country of origin statements:

  •  Grown in Mexico

Sample label showing the text Produced in Canada.

When a label is not required

The new Information Standard covers all food for retail sale in Australia. According to the new Information Standard you will not need a standard mark OR a country of origin statement for the following food products’ types:

  • foods not for human consumption (for example: pet food, bird food)
  • foods sold in restaurants, cafes, take-away shops or schools
  • foods sold at fund-raisers
  • foods sold in the same premises in which they have been made and packed (for example: a bakery that sell their food products exclusively at the shop-front of the facilities where the products were made and packed will not need a standard mark for their food products).

When a standard mark is optional

A standard mark is optional for non-priority foods, which will only require a country of origin statement as a label. Non-priority foods include:

What do ‘Grown in’, ‘Produced in’ and ‘Made in’ Australia mean?

All of these claims mean that a product meets the requirements to make a claim of Australian origin.

Grown in or produced in

These claims mean that all of the ingredients are Australian, and major processing occurred in Australia.

Made in

A food can be described as having been made in a country if it underwent its last substantial transformation in that country. That is, it might not contain all Australian ingredients, but it underwent major processing in Australia such that it can claim Australian origin.

What does ‘substantial transformation’ mean?

A food is said to have been substantially transformed in a country if the end product is something fundamentally different from its imported ingredients.

The CoOL online tool help text will provide information on processes that are not considered to be substantial transformation. The help text will make it clear that the claim ‘made in’ cannot be used where imported ingredients are only subject to minor processes, such as slicing, freezing, canning, bottling, crumbing, reconstituting, roasting, packing or re-packing.

For example: Mozzarella cheese made from imported milk could be labelled ‘Made in Australia from X% Australian ingredients’, but imported mozzarella cheese that is just shredded and packaged for resale could not be.

When is a ‘Packed in Australia’ claim used?

A ‘Packed in Australia’ claim is required when a food that is packaged in Australia does not meet the criteria to claim to have been grown, produced or made in Australia.

Supporting documents

Food labelling regulations and systems

Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016

Legislative Instrument

F2016L00528 : Authoritative PDF Document : 1.5MB Primary Document Icon F2016L00528 : ZIP Document : 0.8MB
35 pages
 

Explanatory Statement

F2016L00528ES : PDF Document : 0.6MB Primary Document Icon F2016L00528ES : ZIP Document : 96KB
20 pages
 

Replacement Explanatory Statement

F2016L00528RES01 : PDF Document : 0.8MB Primary Document Icon F2016L00528RES01 : ZIP Document : 0.1MB
25 pages
Replacement Explanatory Statement
Registration Date:
HR Tabled Date:
Tabled Senate Date:

 

 

Grown in, produced in, made in

The key country of origin claims mean different things:

  • Grown in is a claim about where the ingredients come from and is commonly used for fresh food. It can also be used for multi-ingredient products to show where the food was grown and processed.
  • Produced in is a claim about where the ingredients come from and where processing has occurred. This claim is often used for processed, as well as fresh foods.
  • Made in is a claim about the manufacturing process involved in making the food.

When a food has not been grown, produced or made in a single country, it will need to display a label identifying the country it was packed in.

Priority and non-priority foods

Non-priority foods must carry a country of origin text statement about where the food was grown, produced, made or packed. A product is a non-priority food if it belongs to one of the following categories:

  • seasoning (e.g. salt, spices and herbs)
  • confectionery (e.g. chocolate, lollies, ice cream, popcorn)
  • tea and coffee (in dry, or ready to drink, form)
  • biscuits and snack food (e.g. chips, crackers and ready to eat savoury snacks)
  • bottled water
  • soft drinks and sports drinks
  • alcohol.

Everything else is a priority food. For example, priority foods include fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, bread, milk, juice, sauces, honey, nuts and cereal.

If a priority food was grown, produced or made in Australia, its country of origin label will also feature:

  • a kangaroo in a triangle logo to help you quickly identify that the food is Australian in origin
  • a bar chart and text identifying the proportion of Australian content in the food (if any).

Priority foods can only claim to be produced or grown in Australia if they contain 100 per cent Australian ingredients.

Examples

A loaf of bread that is labelled ‘Made in Australia from a least 80% Australian ingredients’ means that the bread was baked in Australia using predominately Australian ingredients
A carton of eggs that is labelled ‘Grown in Australia’ means that the eggs came from Australian-grown chickens
Country of origin Grown in Australia label
A packet of pasta that is labelled ‘Product of Australia’ means that the pasta was made from scratch in Australia using only Australian ingredients
Country of origin Product of Australia label
A pack of mixed nuts that is labelled ‘Packed in Australia from at least 20% Australian ingredients’  means that, at a minimum, 20% of the nuts are Australian grown.

Note: This label contains the bar chart but not the kangaroo logo as the food wasn’t grown or produced here and the level of processing wouldn’t be enough to make a ‘made in Australia’ claim.

 

What about imported foods?

Imported foods must also display country of origin information. Like non-priority foods, imported foods only have to carry a text statement. Businesses have the option to use a label with a shaded bar chart if the imported food contains Australian grown or produced ingredients.

Examples

A jar of jam labelled ‘Made in the USA’ means that the jam was processed in the USA
If the jam contains Australian ingredients it could carry a label with a shaded bar chart to show that the jam was processed in USA using a certain proportion of Australian ingredients

Other product claims

Sometimes businesses add words, or easily recognisable logos, symbols or pictures to their food packaging, which could suggest or imply a connection between the product and a particular country. For example, a statement such as ‘Proudly Australian owned’ next to an Australian flag tells you about the ownership of the company.

Businesses must ensure that any representations made about their products are clear, truthful and accurate.