An online petition demanding “mandatory and clear food labelling graphics/icons” on food packaging is doing rounds on the internet in Australia.
According to an online petition on change.org titled ‘Strengthen our food labelling laws to reflect our community needs, many Australians want’ more transparent food labelling that reflects our modern culture in Australia’.
The petition started by one Mark Trayling says, “We need mandatory and clear food labelling graphics/icons on our packaging, simple icons that will denote whether a product is vegan, vegetarian or contains beef, pork or shellfish.”
According to the petition, “Many Australians have chosen a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and have a right to know whether the food products they are buying are derived from animals. In addition, diversity wise, we have many Hindus, Muslims and Jews, who need to know whether any of the products on the local shelf at the supermarket, for example, contain any beef or pork or shellfish.”
“However, many times, our labelling is woefully inadequate. For example, pick up some Allen’s lollies, and it will say it is made from gelatin. Many people would be unaware that gelatin is derived from animals, sourced from beef or pork. Often gelatin won’t say whether it is derived from beef or pork, which can unintentionally result in someone violating their beliefs,” it claims.
Madhusmita Hazarika, a Sydney-based Indian, follows a Vegan lifestyle. However, she thinks it is a good idea to indicate the origin of food ingredients.
“A clear vegan or vegetarian label will help not only the manufacturers of such products, but also the consumers of such products. Many products are not bought, because consumers are not sure and the product labelling does not make clear if it has animal-origin ingredients,” Ms Hazarika told NRI Affairs.
The petition, signed by more than 1,100 people since it started around six months ago, says it is a consumer’s right to know what they are buying and for companies to act responsibly towards consumers.
“Australia is in need of a swing back to stronger consumer laws, and with your support, we can get there by showing Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the concerned Minister that this is an important issue to our country that has your backing,” it reads.