Aussie jobs threatened in vitamin crackdown
THE Morrison government wants to shield local vitamin manufacturers from a crackdown on "Australian Made" claims which threatens up to 30,000 jobs and exports worth nearly $1 billion annually.
It's understood some manufacturers of so-called complementary medicines have been considering whether to move offshore since Sydney-based company Nature's Care lost a Federal Court bid to use the Australian Made logo on its Fish Oil 1000 + Vitamin D3 capsules.
While the capsules were made here, the raw fish oil came from Chile and the D3 was from China.
Late last year the court ruled the encapsulation process wasn't "substantial transformation" as required under new tougher labelling laws.
The decision had the potential to jeopardise the viability of an industry that in 2018 exported $940 million worth of vitamins - more than half of that to China - and employs 29,000 people.
News Corp Australia can today reveal such supplements would get the green-and-gold tick if a new plan approved by the Federal Government goes ahead.
"Under the changes, complementary medicines manufactured in Australia in production facilities regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration would be able to make the claim 'Australian made' and use the Australian Made logo," Industry Minister Karen Andrews said.
"The Australian Made logo can be of great benefit to local industry as a universal, high brand recognition, point of difference to other products.
"Its use demonstrates to consumers that they can have the confidence that a vitamin or mineral supplement carrying the Australian Made logo has been manufactured in Australia to the highest quality standards," she said.
"The Coalition Government is listening to the feedback of the complementary healthcare industry regarding the unintended consequences of country of origin labelling reforms on their products."
Nature's Care did not respond to requests for comment; nor did Swisse, Blackmores or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which polices country of origin claims.
There had been an expectation in some quarters that the Government's plan would be given immediate effect through regulatory change as soon as this week.
But that appeared unlikely yesterday.
Instead it appears the plan will be considered by federal, state and territory consumer affairs ministers after the election.
If the ministers decided to adopt the plan they could force manufacturers to disclose more details about the origins of raw ingredients on labelling.