The federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, Clive Palmer, says the Australian Hepatitis A outbreak linked to a brand of imported frozen berries could have been avoided with better food labelling.
Mr Palmer has re-iterated his call for urgent reform of Australian food labelling to safeguard consumers, keep profits at home and protect local jobs.
“The serious Hepatitis A outbreak linked to these imported frozen berries is an example of what can happen when consumers do not know what they are buying because of inadequate labelling laws,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“People deserve the opportunity to be able to make informed decisions about what they eat and how they are going to spend their money.”
Mr Palmer said the Palmer United Party remains committed to ensuring uniform food-labelling reform in Australia to promote the endeavours of local producers, boost employment and keep consumers better informed.
“Under the current laws, it is impossible to determine the breakdown between ingredients and packaging when an item is labelled Australian-made,” Mr Palmer said.
“People may think they are supporting Australian producers when in fact only a very small percentage of what they spend may be staying in the country.”
He said clarity in labelling on all packaging remains one of the priorities of the Palmer United Party since they first called for reform more than 18 months ago.
“We want to introduce a coloured tag system to properly inform consumers of the origins of the products they buy,” he said.
“If a product contains more than five percent of the product including packaging not originating in Australia, it would carry a red tag and if an item has 95% or more of its content made in Australia then we would be proposing a green and gold tag.
“The aim of this kind of food labelling reform would enable consumers to be able to make informed decisions about their purchases and to promote and protect truly Australian goods and services for the betterment of everybody in this country.”