Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine

Sydney Australia

Govt Review of Food Labelling

March 2010: CJPP submission to the Australian Government Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy

In March 2010, CJPP wrote a submission to the Australian Government’s Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy.  Below is the full text of CJPP’s submission.

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We the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) submit that the consumer needs to be aware of how and where and under what conditions the food was produced in order to make an informed and ethical decision.

Specifically we refer to produce from the Israeli Settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories that should be clearly labelled in such a way as to distinguish its country of origin as being distinct from either Israel or Palestine.

This is necessary as the Israeli Settlements do not lie within the internationally recognised borders of the state of Israel and it is therefore misleading that they be labelled produce of Israel. Also the Palestinian National Authority does not have jurisdiction over them and their economic activities have little to no direct impact on the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

These settlements are illegal under international law. They contravene Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which state that ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’.

We believe that:

  • Consumers want to know the country of origin of food they purchase.
  • Labelling food as “a mix of local and imported ingredients” does not provide consumers with the information they need to make informed and ethical choices.
  • In the case of products from more than one country, all countries should be listed.
  • Consumers need know whether the goods are of Israeli or Palestinian origin or produced in illegal settlements.

The review may find the recent advice from the UK helpful as The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued guidelines which might be helpful in formulating an Australian position. They have adopted a policy of labelling produce that was previously labelled ‘Produce of the West Bank’ as ‘Produce of the West Bank (Israeli settlement produce)’ and ‘Produce of the West Bank (Palestinian produce)’. This is a solution that we feel would adequately address the issue of accurately informing the consumer.

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Coalition for Peace and Justice in Palestine

PO Box 144 Glebe NSW 2037 Australia cjpp@coalitionfor palestine.org