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GRC Professional : GRC Autumn 2013
IN DEPTH 9 AS ONE OF LIFE'S NECESSITIES, FOOD HAS HAD R EGULATION grow evermore comprehensive and complex just as the industries growing, supplying and processing it have innovated and carved new niches. At the same time, consumers have in part driven the demand for greater food choice and want industry governance and compliance frameworks in place to ensure those demands are met. It's no longer just food safety laws -- those stipulating hygiene and quality standards for production and supply -- that the contemporary consumer is most worried about, but the composition of food, origin, means of production a nd potential health effects now weigh upon purchasing decisions. The Blewett Report, Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy 2011, recognised "the growing consumer demand for information on food labels ... that align with personal values and ethics", or consumer values about organic foods, or products that do not harm or have not been tested on animals, or products that do not damage the environment. Credibility on line Welcome to the brave and not-so-new world of credence claims -- they have been around in a form since 'fat free' and 'contains real fruit' appeared on packaging and in advertisements when food processing ramped up in the 1970s and 1980s -- but have proliferated to the point of ubiquity. In 2009, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inter vened when advised that some products may have been mislabelled 'extra- virgin olive oil' (denoting the highest-grade oil extracted from the first press of fresh olives) and Chair Graeme Samuel described a 'credence claim' as arising when consumers "can't tell whether oil is extra virgin just by looking at, or tasting it, so they have to rely on the credibility of the supplier to provide truthful and accurate information." X Deceit in what you eat A slew of recent ACCC decisions about poultry farming highlights the perils of misleading and deceptive food labelling where industry must second-guess consumers' understanding. BY STEV E N CHONG Defining terms Free range -- standards vary but ready daylight access to outdoors is all but unanimous, and maximum outdoor stocking densities of 750--20,000 birds/hectare Barn-raised -- hens free to roam within a shed that may have more than one level. The floor may be based on litter and/or other material such as slats or wire mesh Open range -- cattle are free to roam on publicly accessible grazing land Cage free -- includes eggs laid in barns, free- range and organic systems Country of origin -- must have been substantially transformed in the country being claimed; and at least 50 per cent of the costs to produce or manufacture the goods must occur Australia-made or Australian product -- as above regarding Australia. 'Product of Australia' requires each significant ingredient/ component to originate from Australia and nearly all production to occur there.
GRC Summer 2013