Under Australian Consumer Law extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) pro­duc­ers — as well as EVOO exporters to Australia — have to com­ply with new coun­try of ori­gin label­ing laws that came into effect on July 1.

The new laws will make more clear that any non-Australian added ingre­di­ents are included by the use of the graph­i­cal bar show­ing the per­cent­age of Australian ingre­di­ents and the use of the ‘made in’ claim instead of the ‘prod­uct of’ claim.- David Valmorbida, Australian Olive Oil Association

The new label­ing laws, which stip­u­late EVOOs imported to Australia need to dis­play their coun­try of ori­gin in a text state­ment on labels, give exporters to Australia the option of includ­ing a shaded bar chart on labels indi­cat­ing the per­cent­age of Australian grown or pro­duced ingre­di­ents if applic­a­ble.

These laws are the result of con­sumer pres­sure fol­low­ing a hepati­tis A out­break in Australia in February 2015 that was linked to con­t­a­m­i­nated Australian-pack­aged frozen berries imported from Canada and China.

The pres­i­dent of the Australian Olive Oil Association, David Valmorbida, told Olive Oil Times: “In sit­u­a­tions where pro­duc­ers may be infus­ing Australian EVOO with other ingre­di­ents that may be non-Australian, the new laws will make more clear that any non-Australian added ingre­di­ents are included by the use of the graph­i­cal bar show­ing the per­cent­age of Australian ingre­di­ents and the use of the ‘made in’ claim instead of the ‘prod­uct of’ claim.”

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) web­site, the term “prod­uct of Australia” indi­cates a prod­uct is pro­duced in Australia con­sist­ing of 100-per­cent Australian ingre­di­ents.

The ACCC web­site lists four coun­try of ori­gin claims on “pri­or­ity food” — which includes EVOO — namely “grown in,” “pro­duced in,” “made in” and “packed in.”

“Grown in” is used mainly for fresh foods and indi­cates the ori­gin of the ingre­di­ents. This claim can also be used for multi-ingre­di­ent prod­ucts to indi­cate where the ingre­di­ents were grown and processed.

“Produced in” is used to indi­cate the source of the ingre­di­ents and the loca­tion of pro­cess­ing.

“Made in” indi­cates the coun­try in which the prod­uct was made.

“Packed in” indi­cates the coun­try the prod­uct is packed in. This claim is used on labels of prod­ucts that have not been grown, pro­duced or made in a sin­gle coun­try.

The new laws stip­u­late the green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) tri­an­gle kan­ga­roo logo is manda­tory on Australian grown, pro­duced or made EVOO labels. EVOO pro­duc­ers had to for­merly obtain licenses from gov­ern­ment-con­tracted NPO Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL) to use the AMAG logo.

Since July 1 the AMAG kan­ga­roo logo is no longer allowed to be used as a stand­alone logo on EVOO labels but needs to be incor­po­rated into a panel on the new coun­try of ori­gin labels.

According to the ACCC web­site; “non-pri­or­ity” foods such as sweets, cof­fee and alco­holic bev­er­ages that are grown, pro­duced, made or packed in Australia or else­where; are required to dis­play a text state­ment on labels stat­ing the coun­try of ori­gin.

Even if these “non-pri­or­ity” foods have been grown, pro­duced, made or packed in Australia; they are not required to dis­play the AMAG kan­ga­roo logo on their labels.

A bar chart on the label indi­cat­ing the per­cent­age of Australian pro­duce, if any, in a prod­uct is manda­tory on pri­or­ity foods labels, but optional on non-pri­or­ity food labels. The bar chart needs to be accom­pa­nied by a text state­ment indi­cat­ing the per­cent­age of Australian ingre­di­ents.

EVOO that was pack­aged and labeled on or before June 30 can still be sold with­out the new labels.

Explaining the unique geo­graph­i­cal iden­tity of Australian EVOO, Valmorbida told Olive Oil Times: “Australian EVOO is well regarded glob­ally in terms of qual­ity and also the diver­sity of olives being grown in our coun­try.”

“Being a large coun­try with olive grow­ing occur­ring in a num­ber of areas, there is an oppor­tu­nity for regional iden­tity to be devel­oped and mar­keted for high-qual­ity Australian EVOOs,” he added.

“Despite being a small pro­ducer on the global scale, the exten­sive appli­ca­tion of lat­est pro­duc­tion method­olo­gies and tech­nol­ogy com­bined with the avail­able area and pos­si­ble regional diver­sity sets the Australian indus­try in a great posi­tion to grow into the future with a strong rep­u­ta­tion for con­sis­tent pro­duc­tion vol­umes and high prod­uct qual­ity,” Valmorbida said.

“Most com­monly Australian olive oil is only ever sold as 100 per­cent Australian — not as a blend of other coun­tries,” he said, “so the new graph­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the coun­try of ori­gin will merely pro­vide added empha­sis and ease of under­stand­ing to con­sumers that these prod­ucts are indeed 100 per­cent ‘prod­uct of Australia’.”

In response to the new label­ing laws; South Australian EVOO pro­ducer, Elisi Grove owner Leon Bettio, told Olive Oil Times: “Knowing these laws were com­ing in since last year, and hav­ing under­gone a rebrand includ­ing design­ing new labels, we sim­ply had the new coun­try of ori­gin logos incor­po­rated into the labels since last year. It appears that more Australian con­sumers are inter­ested in sup­port­ing local EVOOs that they con­sider to be good qual­ity, so being able to clearly see it on the label should make it eas­ier for them to do so.”

Asked whether it has been sim­ple for Australian EVOO pro­duc­ers to com­ply with the new label­ing laws, Valmorbida said: “Admittedly, there is the impor­tant task and cost of updat­ing pack­ag­ing and label­ing to com­ply with the new laws.”




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