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A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to country of origin labelling of food, and for related purposes
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Registered 13 Feb 2015
Introduced Senate 12 Feb 2015
Table of contents.

2013‑2014‑2015

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Country of Origin Food Labelling) Bill 2015

 

No.      , 2015

 

(Senators Milne and Xenophon)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to country of origin labelling of food, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Schedules............................................................................................ 2

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Competition and Consumer Act 2010                                                                     3

Imported Food Control Act 1992                                                                           12

 

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to country of origin labelling of food, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Country of Origin Food Labelling) Act 2015.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

2.  Schedule 1

The day after the end of the period of 12 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedules

                   Legislation that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1Amendments

  

Competition and Consumer Act 2010

1  Subsection 2(1) of Schedule 2

Insert:

country of origin labelling requirements are set out in section 137A.

2  Subsection 2(1) of Schedule 2

Insert:

food has the same meaning as in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.

3  After Part 3‑4 of Schedule 2

Insert:

Part 3‑4ACountry of origin labelling requirements

  

137A  Country of origin labelling requirements

             (1)  The table in subsection (3) sets out country of origin labelling requirements that apply to certain kinds of packaged food and unpackaged food.

Note 1:       It is an offence to supply or offer, or to possess for the purpose of supplying, food that does not comply with the country of origin labelling requirements: see section 204A.

Note 2:       In some cases, a particular kind of food may be covered by more than one item in the table. For example, packaged food could be covered by item 1 of the table in subsection (3) and also include information that highlights a significant ingredient in the food (item 4 of the table in subsection (3)).

Note 3:       The country of origin labelling requirements are taken not to apply to wine goods in certain circumstances: see subsection 137B(2).

             (2)  Certain kinds of packaged food and unpackaged food that are not covered by the items in the table in subsection (3) may be subject to other labelling requirements set out in section 255 of Schedule 2.

             (3)  The country of original labelling requirements are set out in the following table:

 

Country of origin labelling requirements

Item

Food

Labelling requirements that apply

1.

Packaged food:

(a) that is wholly manufactured, or processed, in Australia; and

(b) where all the significant ingredients of the food are grown in Australia.

The food must be labelled with at least one of the following terms:

(a) Product of Australia;

(b) Produce of Australia;

(c) Australian Product;

(d) Australian produce.

2.

Packaged food:

(a) that is substantially transformed in Australia by way of processing; and

(b) where at least 50% of the total cost of processing the food is incurred in Australia; and

(c) is not covered by item 1 of this table.

The food must be labelled with either of the following terms:

(a) Manufactured in Australia;

(b) Australian Manufactured.

3.

Packaged food that is:

(a) processed in Australia; and

(b) is not covered by items 1 or 2 of this table.

The food must be labelled with the term Packaged in Australia.

4.

Packaged food that:

(a) is covered by items 1, 2 or 3 of this table; and

(b) contains one or more significant ingredients that are grown or produced in Australia.

The food may be labelled in a way that highlights the significant ingredient(s) (see note 2 below).

5.

Unpackaged food that is grown in Australia.

The display must be labelled as follows:

(a) there must be a label on or in connection with the display; and

(b) there must be a statement on the label that says:

(i) Grown in Australia; or

(ii) Product of Australia; or

(iii) Produce of Australia.

6.

Unpackaged food that is:

(a) displayed for retail sale; and

(b) not covered by item 5 of this table.

The display must be labelled as follows:

(a) there must be a label on or in connection with the display; and

(b) there must be a statement on the label that:

(i) identifies the country or countries of origin of the food; or

(ii) indicates that the food is local food, imported food or a mix of local and imported food, as the case may be.

Note 1:       For substantially transformed, see subsection (5) of this section and subsections 255(3) and (4).

Note 2:       An Australian based chocolate manufacturer that uses Australian produced milk as a significant ingredient in their chocolate may choose to label the chocolate with “Manufactured in Australia from Australian milk”: see item 4 of the table.

Labelling of unpackaged food

             (4)  Unpackaged food must not be labelled, displayed or advertised in a way that represents or suggests (whether explicit or implied) that the food is grown in Australia, unless the unpackaged food is covered by item 5 of the table in subsection (3).

Meaning of substantially transformed

             (5)  For the purposes of item 2 of the table in subsection (3), and despite subsection 255(3):

                     (a)  the following activities do not, of themselves, mean that food has been substantially transformed:

                             (a)  freezing and canning;

                             (b)  simple preserving processes associated with packaging food (including freezing or heat treatment);

                             (c)  extracting juice from fruit or vegetables;

                             (d)  homogenisation of food;

                             (e)  seasoning food;

                             (f)  marinating food;

                             (g)  coating, crumbing or battering food;

                             (h)  curing or salting food;

                              (i)  roasting or toasting food;

                              (j)  mixing or blending of food ingredients, where the resulting product is not substantially different from the separate ingredient; and

                     (b)  the regulations may provide that food has not been substantially transformed in prescribed circumstances.

When food is grown in a country

             (6)  Food, or an ingredient or component of food, is grown in a country if the food, ingredient or component, as the case may be:

                     (a)  is materially increased in size or materially altered in substance in the country by natural development; or

                     (b)  germinated or otherwise arose in, or issued in, the country; or

                     (c)  is harvested, extracted or otherwise derived from an organism that has been materially increased in size, or materially altered in substance, in the country by natural development.

137B  Relationship with certain other labelling requirements

             (1)  The country of origin labelling requirements prevail over the following, to the extent of any inconsistency:

                     (a)  the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (within the meaning of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991);

                     (b)  any rules, referred to in section 173 of the Trade Marks Act 1995, governing the use of a certification trade mark.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a country of origin labelling requirement would, apart from this section, apply to wine goods (within the meaning of the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980); and

                     (b)  the country of origin labelling requirement is inconsistent with a requirement that applies to the wine goods under that Act;

the country of origin labelling requirement is taken not to apply to the wine goods to the extent of the inconsistency.

137C  Supplying etc. food that does not comply with country of origin labelling requirements

Supply of food

             (1)  A person must not, in trade or commerce, supply food of a particular kind if:

                     (a)  a country of origin labelling requirement applies to food of that kind; and

                     (b)  the food does not comply with that requirement.

Note:          A pecuniary penalty may be imposed for a contravention of this subsection.

Offer of food

             (2)  A person must not, in trade or commerce, offer for supply food the supply of which is prohibited by subsection (1).

Note:          A pecuniary penalty may be imposed for a contravention of this subsection.

Possession or control of food

             (3)  A person must not, in or for the purposes of trade or commerce, possess or have control of food the supply of which is prohibited by subsection (1).

Note:          A pecuniary penalty may be imposed for a contravention of this subsection.

             (4)  In a proceeding under Part 5‑2 in relation to a contravention of subsection (3), it is a defence if the defendant proves that the defendant’s possession or control of the food was not for the purpose of supplying or offering the food.

             (5)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) do not apply to food if it is supplied, or is intended to be supplied:

                     (a)  for immediate consumption; and

                     (b)  by a person, facility or institution of one of the following kinds:

                              (i)  a restaurant;

                             (ii)  a school, including a school canteen;

                            (iii)  a caterer;

                            (iv)  a self‑catering institution;

                             (v)  a prison;

                            (vi)  a hospital or hospice;

                           (vii)  an aged care facility;

                          (viii)  a fete or similar event;

                            (ix)  a person, facility or institution of a kind prescribed by the regulations.

             (6)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) also do not apply to food that is supplied, or intended to be supplied, in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

4  After Part 4‑4 of Schedule 2

Insert:

Part 4‑4AOffences relating to country of origin labelling requirements

  

204A  Supplying etc. food that does not comply with country of origin labelling requirements

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person, in trade or commerce, supplies food of a particular kind; and

                     (b)  a country of origin labelling requirement applies to food of that kind; and

                     (c)  the food does not comply with the requirement.

Penalty:

                     (a)  if the person is a body corporate—$250,000; or

                     (b)  if the person is not a body corporate—$50,000.

             (2)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person, in trade or commerce, offers for supply food of a particular kind; and

                     (b)  a country of origin labelling requirement applies to food of that kind; and

                     (c)  the food does not comply with the requirement.

Penalty:

                     (a)  if the person is a body corporate—$250,000; or

                     (b)  if the person is not a body corporate—$50,000.

             (3)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person, in or for the purposes of trade or commerce, possesses or has control of food of a particular kind; and

                     (b)  a country of origin labelling requirement applies to food of that kind; and

                     (c)  the food does not comply with the requirement.

Penalty:

                     (a)  if the person is a body corporate—$250,000; or

                     (b)  if the person is not a body corporate—$50,000.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply if the person does not possess or control the food for the purpose of supplying the food.

             (5)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) do not apply to food if it is supplied or is intended to be supplied:

                     (a)  for immediate consumption; and

                     (b)  by a person, facility or institution of one of the following kinds:

                              (i)  a restaurant;

                             (ii)  a school, including a school canteen;

                            (iii)  a caterer;

                            (iv)  a self‑catering institution;

                             (v)  a prison;

                            (vi)  a hospital or hospice;

                           (vii)  an aged care facility;

                          (viii)  a fete or similar event;

                            (ix)  a person, facility or institution of a kind prescribed by the regulations.

             (6)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) also do not apply to food that is supplied, or intended to be supplied, in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

5  Subsection 210(1) of Schedule 2

Omit “or 203”, substitute “, 203 or 204A”.

6  At the end of subsection 210(1) of Schedule 2 (before the note)

Add:

             ; and (e)  in the case of a contravention of section 204A—the defendant:

                              (i)  did not know, and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained, that the goods did not comply with the country of origin labelling requirement to which the contravention relates; or

                             (ii)  relied in good faith on a representation by the person from whom the defendant acquired the goods that there were no country of origin labelling requirements for such goods.

7  Subsection 210(1) of Schedule 2 (note)

Repeal the note, substitute:

Note:          Section 194 is about the supply of consumer goods that do not comply with safety standards, section 203 is about the supply of goods that do not comply with information standards, and section 204A is about the supply of food that does not comply with country of origin labelling requirements.

8  After subparagraph 224(1)(a)(ix) of Schedule 2

Insert:

                  (ixa)  section 137C(1), (2) or (3) (which are about country of origin labelling requirements for food);

9  Subsection 224(3) of Schedule 2 (after table item 13)

Insert:

13A

section 137C(1), (2) or (3)

(a) if the person is a body corporate—$250,000; or

(b) if the person is not a body corporate—$50,000.

10  After subparagraph 248(1)(a)(v) of Schedule 2

Insert:

                           (va)  section 137C(1), (2) or (3) (which are about country of origin labelling requirements for food);

11  Paragraph 252(1)(a) of Schedule 2

After “safety standard”, insert “or country of origin labelling requirement”.

12  At the end of subsection 252(1) of Schedule 2

Add:

Note:          Country of origin labelling requirements only apply to consumer goods that are food: see Part 3‑4A.

13  Subparagraph 252(2)(c)(i) of Schedule 2

After “safety standard”, insert “or country of origin labelling requirement”.

14  Subparagraph 252(2)(c)(ii) of Schedule 2

After “safety standard”, insert “, country of origin labelling requirement”.

15  After section 254 of Schedule 2

Insert:

254A  Goods includes food

                   For the purposes of this Part, a reference to goods is treated as including a reference to food.

Note:          Section 137A includes rules about country of origin labelling requirements for certain kinds of packaged and unpackaged food.

Imported Food Control Act 1992

16  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

country of origin labelling requirement has the same meaning as in Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

17  Subsection 8A(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (1)  A person may only deal with food imported into Australia if:

                     (a)  the food meets applicable standards relating to information on labels for packages containing food; and

                     (b)  country of origin labelling requirements that apply to the packaging of the food have been complied with.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 10 years.

18  Subsection 9(1B)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

          (1B)  Subsection (1A) does not apply to a dealing with food for the purpose of altering or replacing the label on the package containing the food in order to meet:

                     (a)  applicable standards relating to information on labels for packages containing food; or

                     (b)  country of origin labelling requirements that apply to the food.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to a matter in this subsection. See subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code.