Shocking origin of meat in ‘Australian made’ bacon
COUNTRY of Origin labelling laws are wasted on time poor consumers who don't realise that water may be the only local ingredient in some 'Australian made' bacon and ham, says a farming lobby group.
Australian Pork general manager of marketing Peter Haydon said the COO labelling, which came into full effect in July last year after a two year transitional stage, had not cut through.
The labelling for products grown, produced or made in Australia, contain a bar chart, as well as text, indicating the percentage of Australian ingredients.
Mr Haydon said many consumers were seeing the 'Made in Australia' labelling but not fully reading the text nor deciphering the bar chart.
He said a lot of the prepacked, and even supermarket deli, smallgoods, such as bacon and ham, came from Canada, US and Denmark could contain less than 20 per cent of local ingredients.
"Most of the Australian content is water to give the texture and moisture in the meat that the consumer wants," Mr Haydon said.
"We have country of origin laws that allows a consumer to know how much was Australian ingredients but nobody knows they exist or how to read them."
It's estimated more than $700 million of pork is imported each year.
Mr Haydon said Australian Pork would start an awareness campaign in early 2020 to assist consumers wanting to make a conscience choice to purchase products with a high percentage of local ingredients.
He said pork that was cooked at home, like mince, chops and roast, was Australian and even many local butchers have almost 100 per cent Australian sausages and bacon.
"We are planning to do a market trial in early 2020 to explain country of origin labelling to see if it affects their behaviour," he said
"All fresh pork is Australian and that's why we focus on fresh pork and every ham you buy with a bone in it is also Australian."
Veteran Federal MP Bob Katter said the Australian government should never have opened the door for imported pork from Canada and Europe.
The Katter Australia Party leader said the importing and exporting industries were not on equal footing the government had failed miserably in protecting the livelihoods of Australian farmers
"The pork should never have been allowed into Australia," Mr Katter said.
"The European countries take none of our live beef so we should just say we won't take their pork until they take our beef. But of course we're the only virgins in the brothel so we just keep copping it all of the time."
West End butcher Shane Rogers was of the impression that locals were conscience of the new food labelling displayed on their fresh meat cabinets at The Stores.
He said their 'Australian Made' sausages consisted of at least 95 per cent local ingredients and they used free-range pork.
"We use 100 per cent Australian pork and the five per cent is a safety threshold in case some of the salts and seasoning are not local, but we are pretty close to 100 per cent," he said.
Mr Haydon understood why some of the big manufacturers imported pork for bacon and sandwich ham, but wanted consumers to be more aware of the growing trend.
Higher grain, power and labour costs were partially the reason pork had to be imported for smallgoods, he said.
"The big players have to cater for rich and not-so-rich …. and the imported ham and bacon is cheaper for a number of reasons," he said
"Pigs grow better in winter and Canada has obviously a lot longer winter than ours and so imported pork has been used for a while."