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Trade Practices review of peanut labelling

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28 February 1992

Trade Practices review of peanut labelling

A dispute over country of origin labelling of peanuts sold in Australia has been referred for examination to both the Trade Practices Commission and the National Food Authority.

The Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, said today the referral followed approaches to him by Queensland ALP MP Mr Arch Bevis and National Party Senator Ron Boswell.

Their concerns relate to a brand of peanuts being marketed with the words “Product of Australia” marked in large print on the packet, and the words “or China” added in much smaller print.

Senator Tate said the Trade Practices Act made it an offence to make a false or misleading representation concerning the place of origin of goods, and the country of origin labelling requirements were clearly designed to give consumers accurate and reliable information.

“The Government has made its intention clear, and if there is a breach because of the way in which the country of origin statement in large print is qualified or contradicted by another statement in small print, there may be scope for action by the Trade Practices Commission”, he said.

Senator Tate said that in addition to the Commonwealth interest, State and Territory food legislation also imposed obligations on manufacturers and importers to properly label the country of origin of their food products.

“I have also refered the issue to the National Food Authority, which I understand has raised relevant issues with State and Territory authorities for their consideration”, he said.

Both Mr Bevis and Senator Boswell have since raised concerns about other brands of peanuts which Senator Tate will also have followed up.

Released by Adrian Wild 06 277 7260 COMMONWEALTH