Is Country of Origin labelling important to you?

On the scale national happiness and personal well being are we what we eat?

In which instance I should eat less food that is round in the middle and more stuff that is long and skinny. French fries are slim as is spaghetti. Broccolini looks ok too but there are doubts about those plump pumpkins, unless they are those peanut shaped ones that are sort of skinnier in the middle than the ends.

Do our choices really make that much difference? Or do we all just want to be more in control of where are produce comes from, as we are of what we eat? Budget needs and the comfort of food to suit the mood might be how many of us still see food products.


Or I could have been saying that giving up processed food altogether is impractical unless you want to severely restrict the range of foods that you consume.

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Consumers Union, now Consumer Reports, in the USA went into the 2nd half of last century continuing to extol the virtues of home made from costs to quality. From dinner to making clothes that fit to making rugged wooden toys for tots to … They almost became a satire on themselves that they would comment a houseperson could ‘save $1’ and get a better meal by spending 3 hours cooking from scratch rather than 20 minutes with a ‘shake and bake’, same with home made breads, or sewing a shirt for a fraction of the cost of buying one. Or … I hopefully don’t need to go on …

CU got an increasing number of letters accompanied by a slowly reducing audience that the choice was not always about saving a $1, or turning housepersons into chefs, carpenters or seamstresses, but was increasingly about having dinner or not having dinner since all the adults in households increasingly had to work to pays the bills, and nobody had 3 hours (not including the shopping or growing times to source ingredients) to make dinner after a days work and commute.

It is a good point that readers need to reflect that those who can often do, but they should not expect everyone to be able to do, or be interested to do, and more people today are interested in a broader range of foods in a time poor world and if one has all the ‘pantry ingredients’ required for a pinch of this and a splash of that, they may expire long before the purchase is used when in a small household; one often acquires what they can how they can and is satisfied.

For this topic, the latter put a demand on the market for 365 days availability of seasonal products, hence through the year we may get raw ingredients from local sources or wherever in the world they are in season and meet the manufacturers cost profile.

Idealism that something can be done is not misplaced, especially when ‘it’ is technologically possible, but never underestimate the costs associated with a disruption of traditional supply systems and additional layers of information where the political powers understand most of their constituency is more concerned that the ‘food’ is $3.00 as labelled, but might be $3.25 if additional information was mandated. Why? The first time a company got it wrong and was caught out, they know somebody would sue for misrepresentation or worse, and build that into their P/L.

Like others, I would like to know where every last ingredient came from. Maybe I have been assimilated but I along with some others do not accept it is practical to do so save for particular products, coffee beans or bulk rice being examples, where they come from limited places and are packaged as coffee bean or rice, not as complex foods with 10-20 ingredients, many seasonal and all subject to lowest cost sourcing.


It is fashionable to criticise from a great height our modern food supply, especially supermarkets and their supply chains. Some complaints are well warranted as corners may be cut, quality may be compromised and marketing decisions may be shady.

Consider the foodie world of 100 years ago. There were many foods you only got at certain times of the year. If you were lucky you got a treat when something special was in season and you were close to the source but you could also get rubbish because supply chains were slow and frequently not refrigerated. Unless you could afford to travel overseas there were some foods you would never taste. Some foods that we take for granted today were very expensive. The proportion of weekly income spent of food has been reducing for decades.

It is fine to long for the good old days but we ought to try to be realistic about how good they really were.

This is true for many reasons beyond food, but some aspects of previous times leave me envious of some things they enjoyed that are hard for us to find these days. Clean rivers in built up areas, no plastic floating about in the soup of life are just a couple of those things I would love to have back.


Would like to see 100% origin labelling on all food.I see many imported NZ products are sourced from China,repacked in NZ them exported here ,not nice ,I am trying really hard not to buy items from China .


I was involved in (policy development, joint government/private-sector consultation) professionally decades ago. The first thing to understand is: “It seems simple, it actually isn’t!”
Some of the complexities have been mentioned above.
Peanut butter was the usual example chosen to illustrate complexities; demand is ‘constant’ but availability is seasonal, supply is driven by markets, weather, political turmoil, trade wars, etc. Labels like “made in Australia from a mix of Australian and imported ingredients” were a partial solution but didn’t address issues like ‘imported raw materials or partially processed’?

Changing labels ‘every week’ adds to production costs; labels already include quite a bit of info, some required by law.

Other questions like eco-friendly sources; pesticide levels/legal regimes, ‘slave labour’ and so on - also get entangled.

Personally I prefer ‘maximum information’. The other day, purchased some grapes ‘product of Mexico’ and I’ll swear, you could taste the insecticide - (discarded them).
Good luck with your submission, Choice!!


If there is a transition period (where old label stock can be used up), then the costs of any change is either minor or nil.

One has to also remember that many companies tinker with the labelling regularly…to keep up with modern trends and fashions or to better differentiate their product when on the shelves.


I didn’t notice until a month or so ago that most supermarket bacon is made in Australia from very little that is Australian, I know ignorance is no excuse.
I would prefer to ingest Australian nitrites and/or nitrates if I am required to swallow them at all.
In these straightened times it is good to be aware of where our food is from for many reasons including economic.


As is the ham. Bertocchi and Dorsogna both have Australian ham but there are virtually no others.

I refuse to buy imported ham and only buy Dorsogna “ham off the bone” from Woollies.


There are others.

‘Peachester Gold’ Bacon and Ham.
Actually produced near Beerwah Qld, they have a decade of success locally.

Apology for the NewsCorp link.
There is also more on Facebook for those with similar interests.


I was responding to @heggiert’s comment

Of course there are plenty of butchers producing great hams. My wife’s sister buys one every Xmas from a local butcher in Mareeba and they are always delicious, especially after her husband prepares them on the BBQ with their fantastic homemade marinade

But the supermarkets stock very few ham products in the deli which are actually Australian made, and I look in disgust at the labels showing less than 20% Australian content.


A great recommendation for local butchers and select delicatessens, we both seem to agree on. :wink:

Why buy anything at the Supermarket deli without first checking out the alternatives? Although for some, necessity or convenience means it always comes down to the cheapest on the day.


I would be checking the origin of the pork as both Bertocchi and Dorsogna sell hams which contain a fraction (~25%) Australian content. While some are Aussie pork (such as leg ham off the bone), many aren’t (such as this one).

Just in relation to small independent butchers which sell hams. It is important to check they do the smoking rather than onsell ready made hams…as many onsell ready made hams as well.


I always read the display sign in the deli case to ensure it states near to 100% Australian content which both the Bertocchi and the Dorsogna ham off the bone products do.

We also only buy Bertocchi rindless bacon rashers which are the nicest we have ever eaten.

The independent butcher in Mareeba smokes his own hams at Xmas as does a long established Cairns independent butcher.

When we drove past the shop the other week, I noticed a sign stating they now sell goat and I also just saw on their website that they also sell veal which is very hard to source in Cairns so I will definitely be paying them a visit.

When one of our daughters worked for the previous local Toyota dealer, he would give every one of his some 500 employees a Marsh ham for Xmas so Marsh must produce a massive number of hams.


I look for flavour and quality in my food. Country of origin is way down the list.


Thank you for the suggestions for Australian products. I seek out Bok’s Bacon from Tasmania a local deli usually has it. I expect a Community member could tell me when we began to bring home other people’s bacon. Did it happen well before the labelling scheme?


I have done the survey. I read every product in the supermarket and only buy Australian. What annoys me is tinned fish, why is Australian fish canned in Thailand.? I won’t buy any food thats not made here. I know it’s cheaper to do it over there but we should have a choice . It’s so important to me to know where the food I buy comes from. Not just the percentage of.


It is not on all meat. I have trouble buying Australian bacon and ham in Coles or Woolworths.Most are only 10% or 21% Australian which is probably the water and the packaging. You have to really look for the smoked ones to get Australian. I once asked where our pork goes, they said China. I also asked where does this pork come from they said Canada. I said wouldn’t it be better for Canada to send to China and we keep our own. I know Victorian pig farmers who have gone out of business because of the importing of pork.

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In the light of this, I doubt that I will ever again buy anything which is not 100% Australian