Food Labelling in Australia

Food Labelling Compliance

Food Standards

Food labels provide important information such as nutrition, allergens, and warning statements to help customers make food choices and protect public health and safety.

The standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code are legislative instruments under the Legislation Act 2003. This Food Standards Code outlines detailed requirements on food labelling.

Food manufacturers and suppliers are responsible to ensure the product label complies with various regulatory schemes in Australia. Compliance with the code is enforced by authorities in all states and territories.

Labelling Requirements

Food labels must be provided and correctly placed for most foods offered for retail sale. Different labelling requirements apply depending on the type of product. Some of the mandatory and voluntary information are outlined below.

Date Marking Information

Food packages must include a “use by date” or a “best before date.” The label must also include instructions for specific storage conditions required to ensure the food will keep for the period specified in the “use by date” or the “best before date.” Date formats must be expressed so that it is easy to identify which number is the day, the month, or the year.

Country of Origin

It is mandatory to add country of origin labelling for food that is sold (including offered or displayed for sale) in Australia. Most food for retail sale in Australia must be labelled with a country of origin. There are different labelling requirements depending on whether the food was grown, produced or made in Australia; packaged in Australia; grown, produced or made in another country; packaged in another country.

Ingredient List

The ingredient list must be in descending order of ingoing weight and a nutrition panel must be included on the label. However, a nutrition information panel is not required for small packages, unless any nutrition claims are made and then it must include a declaration of average quantities of prescribed nutrients.

Health Star Rating System

The Health Star Rating (HSR) is a voluntary front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. The HSR system was implemented in 2014.

The system was reviewed in 2019 and a Review Implementation Plan was endorsed on 17 July 2020. The implementation of the Plan started on 15 November 2020. A two year transition period for the implementation of changes will apply, with all changes to be fully implemented by 14 November 2022.

Contact BWES for a food labelling review and to help prepare for Health Star Rating.

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