Back in 2016, the Australian government introduced new requirements for labelling almost all food with Country of Origin information. On 1 July 2018, these requirements become mandatory for all food retailers, including stall holders at farmers markets.
There are very few exceptions: alcoholic beverages, tea & coffee, biscuits, seasonings, confectionery and snack foods. Ready-to-eat vendors are also exempt. Everything else must be labelled and/or clearly identified with Country of Origin, using the labelling options provided by the Australian Government.
This will be reasonably simple for fruit & vegetable growers, not too complicated for other primary producers eg. meat, fish and eggs, but a bit of work for secondary producers ie. value-adders.
There are plenty of easy-to-use resources to help you get up to speed with what’s required (if you’re not already) and how stall holders can create the signage and labelling they need to comply with the new regulations.
As with any labelling or other regulatory requirements, markets themselves are not accountable for the stall holders’ responsibilities as food retailers. Stall holders must make sure they have informed themselves and taken the necessary steps to ensure they are meeting Country of Origin labelling requirements or face the wrath of the ACCC and the Australian Consumer Law.
However, market organisers should be reminding stall holders that they have new labelling obligations to meet and assisting them where possible.
Here are some links to help you help your stall holders:
Basic information from Australian Department of Industry, Innovation & Science
Comprehensive information from Australian Department of Industry, Innovation & Science
Basic information from Food Standards Australian & New Zealand (FSANZ)
Very dense reading from Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) about Country of Origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law
Very useful FAQs from Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)
Comprehensive guidebook (PDF) from Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to download (highly recommended)
Very useful online tool from Australian Department of Industry, Innovation & Science to help you work out what labels you need and what to put on them (highly recommended)
Very useful style guide (PDF) from Australian Department of Industry, Innovation & Science to help you make sure your labels are correctly printed (highly recommended)
Very useful resource to download digital files (EPS or PDF) of the different types of labels you will need (highly recommended)
There’s a lot of information out there to help you, but these links should provide enough for all stall holders to ensure they are compliant with Country of Origin labelling requirements by 1 July 2018.
Please pass this information on to your stall holders, if they need help getting started. Any enquiries should be directed to the contacts provided in the various documents and resources.