CHOICE membership

Country of origin - non food items

I recently had a query regarding an item I had purchased, a stackable planter. I was interested to buy another but could find no information on their website as to where the product was made. I decided to ring the company. They were less than helpful even after I gave the exact name of the product supplied from their instructions I was told it was too difficult to tell me. They wanted to know why I was concerned, of course it was because there are some countries whose standards around manufacture are not as high as ours (I wasn’t that polite however). Is it unreasonable for a consumer to want to know this information?

6 Likes

Totally reasonable. If for no other reason than you may wish to give preference to buying locally produced (Australian) things.

5 Likes

Caution is always advisable. Buyer beware!

Obvious branding on the front of pack. Not the whole story when you read the fine print on the back.

Made in China.

Yes, Jackson is the wholesaler importer who is providing the product.
What a ‘Wholely Owned Australian Company’ might be, I’ll leave for someone else to explain?

In the instance of Jackson Industries Pty Ltd it could have 100 employees or none.
More than zero as it has a genuine physical presence in a Melbourne.

https://www.ji.com.au/company/

5 Likes

I was told there isn’t even a requirement to display the country of origin for non-perishable food items!? In my case I wanted to know the origin of supermarket sunflower oil. Even ringing the company couldn’t shed light on it (“We do not know where it has been grown or manufacured”). I generally refuse to by any food from China or India (conamination concerns), or in the case of oils, from Ukraine (Chernobyl, tampering scandal).
I had chosen sunflower oil for frying because of it’s very high smoke point and other beneficial properties. However, I noticed that it was smoking worse than olive oil and it turns out that sunflower oil can be really bad or really good depending on composition or refinement. As I cannot get any information from the label or from the vendor, I am switching to Canola (lower variability).
This just demonstrates how important proper food labelling really is! Unforunately, the Fed Gov always gives in to the big multis.

2 Likes

This information you received is incorrect. Mandatory labelling applies to the supply food for retail sale in Australia.

It applies to perishable and non-perishable food items.

3 Likes

What should I do if there’s nothing on the label and I cannot get the information from the supermarket?

Is this what you mean…

image

where the label says Packed in Australia from Imported ingredients.

This label would comply with current labelling requirements and it is likely that the source of the sunflower oil will change depending on what is cheapest available at the time that the sunflower oil is bottled (in Australia). It could also be oil of multiple origins blended to achieve a particular characteristic (colour or nutritional value for example).

Looking at the major supermarket websites, none of the sunflower oils which they retail are made from Australian grown sunflowers.

Looking at the major sunflower oil producers in the world, it is likely that the imported sunflower oil is from one of these countries…

It is also worth noting that Australia doesn’t import any sunflower oil from China or India, but around 20% of that imported is from the Ukraine. Most comes from Argentina and Malaysia.

This relates to a batch of oil which was sent to the EU and was contaminated with a lubricant mineral oil. There is no evidence that such oil has ever landed on Australian soil nor has been contaminated with a lubricant mineral oil.

It is highly likely that the Australian Authorities would have specifically tested sunflower oil from the Ukraine as part of standard food testing regimes to ensure that imports were contaminant free, especially after receiving news of the contaminated batch received in the EU.

Canola oil sold in supermarkets can be from Australian grown canola or imported oils. Scanning the supermarket websites, it is clear which ones are Australian in origin.

There is opportunity to provide your feedback about currently labelling requirements in this thread…

3 Likes

As for interesting labelling I recently got a new green bin from council. It is proudly embossed with, literally, ‘Made In’, no further information included.

I want to support local industry and yes buying Australian is important to me. Many products do have country of origin labeling so I thought for non-food products it was a requirement but it turns out it is not as others have highlighted

2 Likes

Haven’t you got a permanent marker? Fill in the blank yourself. Here is a way to help the failing economies of Botswana, Venezuela or Afghanistan.

2 Likes

But which part of their economy, assuming you guess right?

If only we could follow the money? Transparency through publication of the landed value of a product or item per the Australian customs declaration would be one small improvement. Subject to the usual grumbles about keeping stuff away from competition. Linking external transactions between the exporting manufacturer and import value, not so easy.

Some products in Australia come from the factory gate direct to the retail reseller. In theory low overheads, although still open to multiple paper owners on the way. The low cost of stuff on eBay, some equal and genuine, some rubbish is one measure of the potential.

I’d prefer some assurance concerning the transfer of payment back to the employees at source. :sleeping:
Time to wake up?

1 Like

No - it is not unreasonable. And such disclosure should be mandatory - on the label - always.

2 Likes

don’t buy it.

2 Likes

ccmpl - you can make some items have mandatory label of origin, but it would be a big job to decide what needs to be labelled and what does not. For example it would be impossible for a label to contain sources of components for electronics (computers TVs etc) / white goods / appliances (fridges freezers vacuum cleaners etc) and totally impossible for large items like cars.

1 Like