Country of Origin Labelling online tool
If you sell food in Australia and you’re not sure which country of origin label to use, the Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) online tool is for you. The tool will help you determine if you need a label, and if you do need a label, it will then find, customise and download the appropriate label for your food products.
Before you start
You will be asked a series of questions about your food product, how it will be sold and where its ingredients were grown, produced or made. Please complete the ‘Before you start checklist’ for a list of information you may need to help you answer these questions.
Start the checklist
Access the online tool
The Country of Origin Labelling online tool is now available. Please allow at least 15 minutes for each food product when using the tool.
Please note that the tool is a guide only and you should exercise your own judgement and care when using the tool. Your response to each question will determine the label the tool recommends. The information provided through the tool should not be regarded as legal advice and you should consider seeking your own legal advice as appropriate.
Note: if you would like to use a label that is permitted or required by the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 but it is not available through the online tool, you may wish to consider designing your own label using the Country of Origin Label Library.
How the online tool works
The tool will recommend one of three new labelling outcomes:
- a new 'standard mark'
- a 'country of origin statement'
- no new label (neither a standard mark or country of origin statement).
Note that the tool can only generate standard marks for you.
Each time you use the online tool, it will capture a summary of your responses in a PDF document so you can keep it for your records. You can generate this summary by clicking on the ‘Summary’ button on the last screen of each session.
You can save your progress at any time by clicking on the ‘Save’ button. This will let you save the link in your web browser bookmarks or favourites. You can also email the link to yourself to return to the questionnaire later.
When you finish the questions you can choose a standard mark from one or more options. Please follow the screen text instructions on setting the standard mark and use the ‘Preview’ button to check it before clicking the ‘Download’ button.
When you click ‘Download’ a new window will pop-up for you to open or save the standard mark.
A standard mark is the new label that has:
- the kangaroo, bar chart and explanatory text, or
- bar chart and explanatory text only.
The tool can generate PDF or PNG standard marks in portrait or landscape.
Examples of standard marks:
Not all products will need a mandatory standard mark label, but for some products use of the standard mark label is optional.
Certain products cannot use a standard mark label and will need a country of origin statement instead.
Country of origin statement
A country of origin statement is an explanation of where a food product came from. These labels are used for products that can’t use or do not need to use a standard mark label.
The tool will not generate the statement for you but will show you how to create your own country of origin statement.
Examples of country of origin statements:
- Grown in Mexico
When a label is not required
The new Information Standard covers all food for retail sale in Australia. According to the new Information Standard you will not need a standard mark OR a country of origin statement for the following food products’ types:
- foods not for human consumption (for example: pet food, bird food)
- foods sold in restaurants, cafes, take-away shops or schools
- foods sold at fund-raisers
- foods sold in the same premises in which they have been made and packed (for example: a bakery that sell their food products exclusively at the shop-front of the facilities where the products were made and packed will not need a standard mark for their food products).
When a standard mark is optional
A standard mark is optional for non-priority foods, which will only require a country of origin statement as a label. Non-priority foods include:
- biscuits and snack food
- bottled water
- soft drinks and sports drinks
- tea and coffee
- alcoholic beverages.
What do ‘Grown in’, ‘Produced in’ and ‘Made in’ Australia mean?
All of these claims mean that a product meets the requirements to make a claim of Australian origin.
These claims mean that all of the ingredients are Australian, and major processing occurred in Australia.
A food can be described as having been made in a country if it underwent its last substantial transformation in that country. That is, it might not contain all Australian ingredients, but it underwent major processing in Australia such that it can claim Australian origin.
What does ‘substantial transformation’ mean?
A food is said to have been substantially transformed in a country if the end product is something fundamentally different from its imported ingredients.
The CoOL online tool help text will provide information on processes that are not considered to be substantial transformation. The help text will make it clear that the claim ‘made in’ cannot be used where imported ingredients are only subject to minor processes, such as slicing, freezing, canning, bottling, crumbing, reconstituting, roasting, packing or re-packing.
For example: Mozzarella cheese made from imported milk could be labelled ‘Made in Australia from X% Australian ingredients’, but imported mozzarella cheese that is just shredded and packaged for resale could not be.
When is a ‘Packed in Australia’ claim used?
A ‘Packed in Australia’ claim is required when a food that is packaged in Australia does not meet the criteria to claim to have been grown, produced or made in Australia.
- Country of Origin Food Labelling definitions
- Country of Origin Food Labelling Style Guide
- Country of Origin Food Labelling Style Guide (Youtube video)
Food labelling regulations and systems
- Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
- Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016
- National Measurement Act 1960
- Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905 and its associated Commerce Imports Regulations 1940 (imported food products only)
- Imported Food Control Act 1992 (imported food products only)
- Quarantine Act 1908 (imported food products only)
- Health Star Rating System
- Country of origin claims & the Australian Consumer Law