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Imported Food Warning Labels Bill 2015

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2015

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

IMPORTED FOOD WARNING LABELS BILL 2015

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

Circulated by the authority of Hon Bob Katter MP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTED FOOD WARNING LABELS BILL 2015

 

OUTLINE

The Bill mandates warning labels on all imported foods, which can harm health if not grown or processed under Australia’s health and hygiene standards. The Bill aims to help consumers make informed choice about the potential health risks of purchasing and consuming imported food products.

This requirement for labelling on food products warns consumers that the product or produce is imported food and that it has not been grown or processed under Australian health and hygiene standards and may be injurious to your health.  This Bill would, for instance, require, inter alia, fresh lemons (regulated unpackaged food) or a bag of lemons (minimally-packaged food) or lemon concentrate made from imported lemons (regulated packaged food) to carry the imported food warning label.

Australia’s stringent regulatory environment ensures Australia retains its favourable health status and that our produce and products are safe, healthy, clean and green. However, our foreign competitors can use chemicals not approved for use in Australia. Australian producers and growers cannot compete against their foreign competitors with our stringent regulatory environment.

Australia’s agricultural industries are placed at risk by the importation of diseases and infections abroad that would have devastating economic and social impacts. Incursions also set unacceptable precedents for future risk import assessment processes. Governments, in their duty of care to Australia’s agricultural and associated industries, must take all necessary steps to reduce the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia.  

This Bill aims to ensure that the food industry and consumers are aware of the risks associated with the importation and consumption of produce and food products that have not been grown or processed under Australia’s stringent health and hygiene standards. For instance, imported seafood inter alia can be infected with bacteria or tainted by drugs, sewage or antibiotics, which may cause serious harm to human health.

The Bill aims to inform the purchasing decisions of consumers thereby encouraging Australians to favour food grown or processed in Australia.

 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

There is no financial impact associated with the Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT ON COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights appears at the end of this Explanatory Memorandum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1 - Short Title

This is a formal provision specifying the short title.

Clause 2 - Commencement

The Bill’s provisions are to commence the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent. However, the warning label requirements and offences relating to failure to comply for regulated packaged food, regulated unpackaged food and minimally packaged food are to commence six months after the Bill receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3 - Definitions      

This sets out definitions for the Bill.

 Clause 4 - Imported food warning label

Clause 4 sets out that an imported food warning label is as follows:

WARNING: IMPORTED FOOD. THIS FOOD HAS NOT BEEN GROWN OR PROCESSED UNDER AUSTRALIAN HEALTH AND HYGIENE STANDARDS AND MAY BE INJURIOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. 

It also provides that requirements can be made to prescribe the size of the label and any other matters relating to the display of the label.

Clause 5 - Warning label requirements

Clause 5 provides that every regulated packaged food, imported in Australia must carry the imported food warning label .

It requires that every regulated unpackaged food displayed for retail sale must carry the imported food warning label. This label is to be fixed to this item or prominently displayed so close to the item that consumers could not avoid seeing the label.

It also requires that regulated minimally-packaged food displayed for retail sale must carry the imported food warning label. The label is to be fixed to each item of food or fixed to each retail unit of the food or prominently displayed so close to the item that consumers could not avoid seeing the label.

Clause 6 - Offence: failure to comply for regulated packaged food

Clause 6 creates an offence with a penalty of $500, 000.

The offence applies if;

·          a person imports food into Australia; and

·          the food is regulated packaged food; and

·          the regulated packaged food does not carry the imported food warning label .

Clause 7 - Offence: failure to comply for regulated unpackaged food

Clause 7 creates an offence with a penalty of $500, 000.

The offence applies if;

·          a person is the operator of a regulated retail food business and;

·          the business displays food for sale; and

·          the food is regulated unpackaged food; and

·          the regulated unpackaged food does not carry the imported food warning label .

Clause 8 - Offence: failure to comply for regulated minimally packaged food

 Clause 8 creates an offence with a penalty of $500, 000.

The offence applies if;

·          a person is the operator of a regulated retail food business and;

·          the business displays food for sale; and

·          the food is regulated minimally-packaged food; and

·          the regulated minimally packaged food does not carry the imported food warning label .

Clause 9 - Application of Crimes Act 1914

This Clause specifies that the Crimes Act 1914 does not apply to this Bill.

Clause 10 - Legislative instruments

This Clause specifies that the Minister may make legislative instruments in order to carry out or give effect to the Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

IMPORTED FOOD WARNING LABELS BILL 2015

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Bill

The object of this Bill is to mandate all imported produce and food products to carry a warning label advising consumers that the produce is not grown or processed in Australia, and as such, may not comply with Australia’s health and hygiene standards and may be injurious to human health.

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

Hon Bob Katter MP