Australian government still pursuing front-of-pack labelling

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th June 2012

At a meeting on Friday 1 June 2012, the Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation noted progress was being made on their development of a front-of-pack labelling system.

The move comes despite the Ministers’ earlier rejection of traffic lights as a proposed front-of-pack system. The Ministers stated their objective is to introduce a front-of-pack system that will be widespread, simple, and interpretive, for packaged, manufactured or processed foods.

The main purpose of the front-of-pack labelling requirements will be to encourage healthier nutrition and thereby contributing to the national Preventative Health strategies. Front-of-pack labelling requirements would supplement the current mandatory back-of-pack label information about ingredients, additives and nutritional values. A collaborative process with stakeholders was agreed in order to advise the Ministers by December 2012.

Health Claims Standard

The Ministers reviewed a progress report from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) on the FSANZ review of Proposal P293 concerning the Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard. The Ministers supported elements of the proposed draft version of the Standard relating to the treatment of nutrition content claims and high-level health claims. Further consideration is now being given to the treatment of general-level health claims in the draft Standard following the consultations with consumers, public health organisations and industry. The feedback to the Ministers is due by the end of July 2012.

Food standards for raw milk and Special Medical Foods

Ministers agreed to the importance of a joint standard between Australia and New Zealand, and to a standard on raw milk products and foods for special medical purposes.

Country-of-origin labelling on unpackaged meat products

The Ministers have sought a review of the proposed standard on country-of-origin labelling that is proposed to be extended to include all unpackaged meat products.

Policy Guideline on Caffeine

A government review of the existing Policy Guideline on Caffeine is currently underway.