Food label effort bears fruit for Telegraph

Food label effort bears fruit for Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph has pulled off two campaign wins in a week, with the NSW government announcing its intention to move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, and the federal government planning new food labelling laws.

The Fair Dinkum Labels campaign kicked off when people around the country were put at risk of contracting Hepatitis A after eating frozen berry brands packaged by Patties Foods.

It was only in the course of reporting the story that The Daily Telegraph realised the deeper problem was with food labelling.

Deputy editor Ben English said reporters trying to establish the source of the contaminated fruit were frustrated by opaque language and a lack of clarity through the chain of delivery.

“From that, it became a bigger story,” he said, with the paper deciding to examine the labelling of other processed foods.

“We realised for our readers, the very least they deserve as consumers is that they have clear and concise labelling that actually is in plain English, the kind we’d use at our paper.”

Mr English said the Telegraph decided to take action as it was apparent people were confused by the phrase used on labels “made in Australia from local and imported ingredients”. Now – because of the health risks – there was a sense of urgency to make food origins clearer to consumers.

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded with a promise to introduce clearer food labels Australia-wide.

It was the second success within seven days for the newspaper, which also has begun the second round of its Fair Go For The West series aimed at achieving funding equality for western Sydney. NSW Premier Mike Baird made an election promise that the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney would be moved to Parramatta if the government is returned – a move which the Telegraph had advocated.

Campaigns aren’t always as quick to see results as Fair Dinkum Labels. Some, like another Telegraph campaign for mandatory vaccinations for kids in childcare, No Jab No Play, require steady persistence.

“It was actually quite a dogged campaign to get that result, but now, you do not get the childcare rebate unless you have vaccinated your child,” Mr English said.

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