New Recommendations for Food Labelling Law and Policy

Posted by Josette Dunn on 28th January 2011

Recommendations to improve food labelling law and policy in Australia and New Zealand are contained in a report presented to Federal, State and Territory Governments today.

Dr Neal Blewett, chair of the independent Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy, presented the report, ‘Labelling Logic’, to the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King.

Some of the key recommendations include:

  • That information on food labels be presented in a clear and comprehensible manner to enhance understanding across all levels of the population.
  • That the food safety elements on the food label be reviewed with the aim to maximise the effectiveness of food safety communication.
  • That there be more effective monitoring and enforcement of the existing requirements in the Food Standards Code to provide mandatory warning and advisory statements and allergen declarations on packages of food not for retail sale, foods for sale at restaurants and other food outlets, foods from mobile food vendors and vending machines, and foods for catering purposes.
  •  That the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling system be explored as a possible supplementary model to manage food label declarations relating to the adventitious presence of allergens in foods.
  •  That where sugars, fats or vegetable oils are added as separate ingredients in a food, the terms ‘added sugars’ and ‘added fats’ and/or ‘added vegetable oils’ be used in the ingredient list as the generic term, followed by a bracketed list (e.g., added sugars (fructose, glucose syrup, honey), added fats (palm oil, milk fat) or added vegetable oils (sunflower oil, palm oil)).
  •  That mandatory declaration of all trans fatty acids above an agreed threshold be introduced in the Nutrition Information Panel if manufactured trans fatty acids have not been phased out of the food supply by January 2013.
  •  That declaration of total and naturally occurring fibre content be considered as a mandatory requirement in the Nutrition Information Panel.
  •  That declaration of energy content of standardised food items on the menu/menu boards or in close proximity to the food display or menu be mandatory in chain food service outlets and on vending machines. Further, information equivalent to that provided by the Nutrition Information Panel should be available in a readily accessible form in chain food service outlets.