Australia’s food labelling laws will not be upgraded until at least August, with a federal government working group not planning to make a formal presentation to Cabinet for several months.

Following a series of food poisoning scandals involving foreign food earlier this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott ordered Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to prepare a proposal for Cabinet by March, but that was delayed to allow industry consultation.

The change to country of origin labelling was ordered after 19 Australians contracted hepatitis A after eating ­contaminated frozen berries from China in February.

Four people also contracted scombroid food poisoning after eating tinned tuna that was imported from Thailand.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane will help prepare the proposal.

The Daily Telegraph has campaigned heavily for “Fair Dinkum Food Labelling” to ensure Australians know where the food products they consume have come from.

It is understood several senior ministers are against the proposal because they fear it will hurt trade relationships and hit producers with higher costs.

It is likely the new laws will be watered down from original plans proposed by Mr Joyce.

It is understood Mr Abbott is committed to pushing ahead with the plan, but accepts the laws may need to be changed from the original proposal.

Extracted in full from the Daily Telegraph.