Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is accepting comments and suggestions that it calls “submissions” until March 4 at 6 p.m. Canberra time on planned changes for country of origin labeling rules. The changes are unlikely to generate the sort of controversy that was experienced in the United States when Congress erased country of origin labeling requirements for whole cuts of meat. FSANZ does plan to remove madeinauslogo_406x250country of origin label requirements from the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, but only to allow them to be consolidated in the Australian Consumer Law. In opening the comment period on Jan. 22, FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said the Australian government is proposing a new country of origin labelling system with all requirements to be included in consumer law. “At the moment, the Code contains the requirement to label but consumer law contains the requirements on what kinds of claims can be made and how,” McCutcheon said. “The proposed new Australian consumer law requirements are expected to make the Code requirements redundant. They will replicate the requirements in the Code, along with additional requirements. Australians can expect to continue to see country of origin information on their foods under these proposals.” The new country of origin labeling will require labels that include information on where a food product is produced or grown, it may include a kangaroo logo if it is a product of Australia with a bar chart showing the proportion of the ingredients by weight that are produced or grown in Australia, and text on the proportion of Australian ingredients that aligns with the bar chart. FSANZ said it notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) about the changes in order to be in compliance with any existing or imminent international standards. It was the WTO, in response to challenges filed by Canada and Mexico, that found U.S. country of origin labeling requirements for beef in violation of existing treaties on international trade. Until it was repealed, the U.S. “COOL” law was deemed to be a non-tariff barrier to international trade because it found to impose higher costs on producers in Canada and Mexico than those in the U.S. The complete proposal and instructions for making submissions to FSANZ can be found here. FSANZ is a bi-government agency for the independent nations of Australia and New Zealand.   It is responsible for the common Food Standards Code used by both countries. It sets policy on additives, food safety, labeling and genetically modified foods. States and territories of the two nations do their own interpretation and enforce of the code within their jurisdictions.   (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)