Call to arms in face of pres­sure

Tasmanian Country - - CROSSWORD -

AUS­TRALIAN su­per­mar­kets should adopt a more ra­tio­nal ap­proach when re­spond­ing to con­sumer cam­paigns such as those call­ing for bans on cage eggs and growth stim­u­lants in beef.

That is the view of Aus­tralian Con­sumer and Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner Mick Keogh, who has in­for­mally vowed to spear­head a “ra­tio­nal re­tailer” cam­paign call­ing for more trans­par­ent la­belling.

He said this woyuld work bet­ter than slap­ping “sim­plis­tic” bans on tech­nol­ogy and farm­ing prac­tices that were fall­ing out of favour with some con­sumers.

Mr Keogh told the Global Food Fo­rum in Syd­ney last week bet­ter la­belling was re­quired to “make sure the con­sumer has a choice”.

Mr Keogh said he un­der­stood re­tail­ers had to re­spond to chang­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences and be quick-footed enough to match de­mand with sup­ply.

How­ever, he warned them not to “dam­age the pro­duc­tiv­ity and the po­ten­tial of the whole agri­cul­tural sec­tor . . . by do­ing that”.

Mr Keogh said he hoped his cam­paign would pres­sure ma­jor re­tail­ers to re­spond in a more mea­sured and con­sul­ta­tive way to de­mands from con­sumer and in­ter­est groups.

His com­ments have been wel­comed by farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Na­tional Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Tony Ma­har said the agri­cul­tural sup­ply chain had be­come more trans­par­ent.

Mr Ma­har said the de­ci­sion by some re­tail­ers to cease stock­ing cage eggs came at a cost to the sec­tor’s pro­duc­tiv­ity.

A Coles spokesman said its cus­tomers had told the com­pany they wanted their food to be pro­duced with as few ad­di­tives as pos­si­ble while main­tain­ing high stan­dards of an­i­mal wel­fare.

Wool­worths did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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