If you sell your honey, you have until July 2018 to comply with new Country of Origin labelling standards
HONEY IS CLASSIFIED as a ‘priority food’ under the new standard. (Foods are either priority or non-priority.) The priority classification means local beekeepers who sell their honey will need to include on their labels a box containing three elements – the kangaroo in a triangle symbol to identify the food’s Australian origin, a bar-chart to indicate the proportion of Australian content, and explanatory wording. This box will need to be on labels by July.
The new rules apply if you are offering your honey for sale at a store or market. However, honey sold at a fund-raising event, such as a school fete, or direct to an end-user such as a restaurant is exempt. (And, of course, the government can’t tell you how to label the honey you give away to friends and relatives.)
To find out what you need to include on your jars or tubs, go to the online tool available on the business website of the Australian Government. This tool guides you through a series of questions to find out which label is most appropriate for your product, then allows you to download the right symbol in a choice of formats.
Typically, for honey extracted from hives in Australia and packaged here with no other ingredients, the online tool will create an element for you containing the Australian kangaroo symbol, a bar chart showing 100% filled in, and allow you to select from a range of short descriptions. The words “Australian Honey”, “Produce of Australia”, “Product of Australia” or “Produced in Australia” are all acceptable.
The standard does not set a minimum size for the country-of-origin element on your labels, only that it must be displayed in its entirety in English, be legible and prominent. In other words: clearly visible so consumers can understand it.
The standard allows for packages with a surface area of less than 100cm2. to omit the kangaroo and bar-chart elements and simply include the explanatory words in a box. If you think 100cm2 sounds large, it’s not. That’s a very small sample jar less than five centimetres tall. Need to check the area of your jars? Google on ‘surface area of cylinder’ to find how to calculate the numbers.
For further information on the new rules, go to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website at www.acc.gov.au/cool