On 3 December 2018 the Federal Court ruled that imported products made into capsules in Australia is not enough for them to be labelled ‘Made in Australia’.
The ACCC welcomed the Federal Court ruling that Nature’s Care Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 soft gel capsule (branded as Healthy care) will not be allowed to be labelled ‘Made in Australia’ under the Australian Consumer Law’s (ACL) Country of Origin labeling provisions. The ACCC said it provided evidence to support its view, consistent with its published guidance, that encapsulation and the addition of a vitamin should not be considered a ‘substantial transformation’ of imported ingredients.
Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) CEO Carl Gibson said the government needed to act immediately to protect the billion export market which was now under threat. The ‘Made in Australia’ logo is a key marketing element for many territories, particularly China, with some estimates that complementary medicines have an export value of $5 billion per year. “We are one of the few manufacturing sectors in the country actually growing – and yet Australia is about to shoot itself in the foot and give away our competitive export advantage,” he said, saying the case outcome underlined “how Australian companies are being negatively impacted by the new ACCC guidelines”.
My own view is that CMA are essentially saying they will lose money if they stop misleading consumers about their labeling and obey Australian Consumer Law. Which would also happen if they stopped misleading consumers about the claims made for their products and obeyed the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code!
On 5 December 2018 the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, announced the Complementary Medicine Taskforce to review the impact of recent consumer law changes on the complementary healthcare sector. “The Morrison Government is committed to helping local industry tap into our export markets, and ensuring our business community has opportunities to sell more products overseas,” Minister Andrews said.
The Taskforce will consider and assess reported impacts on the Sector of the changes to the substantial transformation test under the ACL. Both industry and consumer interests will be considered in this process. The Department of Industry will provide the Chair and Secretariat for the Taskforce. The Terms of Reference are available. The Taskforce will provide advice to Government by the end of February 2019.
For more information, contact Graeme Wolff, Manager, Trade Facilitation Section, Strategic Policy Division, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science,
Phone: +61 2 6213 7357 Email: email@example.com
- Justice Perram’s Judgment on substantial transformation of complementary medicines
- The Complementary Medicine Taskforce: A Homeopathic Consultation?
- ‘Burp-back’ highlighted in fish oil case
Postscript (17/02/2019): I’ve been asked to present a consumer perspective (on behalf of Choice) and other perspectives (PHAA, HAIAP & FoSM) to the Taskforce in Canberra on 31 January 2019. My presentation is now available.