Country of origin (or place of origin) refers to the place where the product was created, grown, manufactured or otherwise transformed.
These claims might refer to a country or region.
For food and many other goods imported to Australia, country of origin claims are likely to be compulsory. However, other items may include a country of origin to suggest an enhanced level of quality.
Country of origin may be communicated on a sticker (eg fresh fruit), in writing with distinctive pictures, or logos (eg Australian Made logo).
Under Australian Consumer Law, all claims about the place of origin of any products, ingredients or where any manufacturing or processing occurred must be truthful.
There are significant penalties for engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct or making false or misleading claims.
Under Australian Consumer Law, the Country of Origin Food Labelling Standard 2016 requires country of origin labels to appear on most food sold in Australia (aside from food sold in places like restaurants and cafes).
There are several acceptable country of origin labels, with standard words, graphics and logos (including the ‘Australian grown, Australian made’ green and gold kangaroo triangle logo and a bar chart graphic on Australian foods) that must be used to comply with the information standard.
Standard food labelling phrases and what they mean
- ‘Grown in’ – usually used for fresh food to indicate the food was grown in that country, all significant ingredients are from that country and virtually all processing occurred in that country
- ‘Product of’ – commonly used for both fresh and processed foods to indicate all significant ingredients are from that country and virtually all processing occurred in that country
- ‘Made in’ – the food underwent its last substantial transformation in that country, excluding processes like slicing, canning, freezing, coating or repacking (does not necessarily mean that any ingredients are from that country)
- ‘Packed in’ – where it was packed, used where one of the other claims cannot be made.
Food that was packaged and labelled on or before 30 June 2018 can still be sold without the new labels.
Goods other than food
Standard goods labelling and what it means
For goods other than food, Australian Consumer Law allows suppliers to make a country of origin claim (in advertising or on product packaging) using the following standard terminology:
- ‘Grown in’ – all significant ingredients were grown in that country and virtually all processing occurred in that country
- ‘Produce of’ – all significant ingredients are from that country and virtually all processing occurred in that country
- ‘Made in’ or ‘manufactured in’ – the good underwent its last substantial transformation in that country (does not necessarily mean that any ingredients are from that country)
- A logo or mark identified in an information standard relating to country of origin labelling (currently only used for country of origin food labels).
Australian grown and Australian made claims
To use the ‘Australian grown, Australian made’ green and gold kangaroo triangle logo on non-food goods, suppliers need to be registered with Australian Made, meet certain criteria and pay for a licence. The other graphics used for food labelling (such as the rectangle bar chart) can be used for non-food goods provided the meaning is clear and truthful.
For more information about country of origin claims for non-food products visit the Country of origin page on the ACCC website.
You can also download the ACCC's Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law guide.
Have a problem?
Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.