Campaign for honest food labelling takes on a life of it’s own

Late last year, this media release that I put out on mislabeled produce in Coles supermarkets generated significant attention, with stories on the issue being run in a number of local and national papers. The story got so much attention that professional climate change denier and right-wing nutjob Andrew Bolt felt the need to get involved.

Several months later it seems the NSW Food Authority is still taking the issue quite seriously, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that other Coles and Woolworths stores in greater Sydney have been fined over the issue. 

While the fines are small for the companies involved the public exposure that their misleading labelling has received will likely be much more serious.  Many conscientious consumers choose to buy Australian produce over that which has been imported to reduce ‘food miles’, support local farmers or to take a stand against the goings on in some of the producer countries.

Such consumers will now be much more wary about what they buy from the two big supermarkets and I imagine many will take their business away from this ever expanding duopoly and to local independent retailers.  The NSW Food Authority, and presumably other regulatory bodies, have Coles and Woolworths in their sites and much more serious punishments will follow if they don’t drastically lift their game.


4 responses to “Campaign for honest food labelling takes on a life of it’s own

  1. I couldn’t agree more on the issue of honest labelling, but I think you are also being a wee bit dishonest here Irene. Having checked out your original press release, I see that the actual issue of labelling came a very poor second to your main aim which was to have a go at Israel, an area of foreign policy in which local pollies are way out of their depth. Please stick to your area of competence which is doing a good job for locals. We want you to win elections on issues that matter, not squander opportunities for social change here on grand utopian visions in the Middle East.

  2. Thanks Lizzie.

    While it’s true that the issue was bought to my attention by members of the Coalition for Peace and Justice in Palestine, who were concerned because they felt this was an attempt by Coles’ to avoid their produce being boycotted, the issue for me was always about proper labelling. That’s why I didn’t mention the boycott in my press release, rather focused on the important environmental issue of food miles. I did use Israeli grapefruit as the main example because that was the item that first bought the matter to my attention, however we also found American lemons that were mislabeled and I took that issue up also.

    While I’ve never hidden the fact that I personally hold grave concerns about the actions of Israel I acknowledge that this is outside my core business as a Councillor and have gone on record saying I don’t intend to get Council involved in the issue. However I hope that my profile as a Councillor has helped me raise awareness of some human rights issues in many parts of the world, not just the Middle East, and that as a result people will form their own opinions on the issues.

    I’m glad you think we’re doing a good job for the locals, lets hope we can keep it up :).


  3. Hi Irene, didn’t realise you had responded. I am glad to hear that you are continuing to focus on matters affecting locals. We cannot boycott every place in the world that treats people badly, because we’d have to boycott ourselves first. After all, we are a colonialist state living on Aboriginal Land, and we have not paid any compensation yet. At least the Jews have some historical claim to be there. I’m glad to hear you will not be supporting any blanket boycotts of any countries, which have the potential to whip up local ethnic and race hatred, and fly in the face of any council’s brief to support multi-culturalism. And I’m with you all the way on food labelling.

  4. Pingback: Legal action reinforces importance of proper food labelling | Councillor Irene Doutney

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