AFGC works to ensure consumers are provided with high quality, safe and appropriately labelled products. This should be done through minimum effective regulation so that companies can continue to produce products that are cost-competitive and affordable.
AFGC has been a consistent proponent of a food regulatory system that facilitates the provision of accurate information about the nutritional content of food. This allows consumers to make more informed decisions about the products they choose for themselves and their families based on ingredients, nutrition, quality, convenience and value for money.
Industry offers consumers nutrition information by way of product labels, enabling them to make informed choices in a short amount of time. All food manufacturers in Australia are required by law to provide nutrition information panels on food products, including information on energy (kilojoule), protein, fat, carbohydrate, sugar and sodium content. In addition, product labels need to carry a list of ingredients, a declaration of any major allergens and the percentage content of the key ingredient/s.
FRONT OF PACK LABELLING
The AFGC introduced the Daily Intake Guide (DIG) in 2016 to help consumers make easy, smart choices about the food they need to include in their diet and ultimately help consumers see the relationship between a serve of food and their daily requirements.
The Health Star Rating (HSR) labelling was introduced in June 2014 following consultation between government, industry, public health and consumer organisations. The AFGC contributed to its development and supports its ongoing management through participation on the Health Star Rating Advisory Committee. The HSR rating is being evaluated with a report provided to the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in June 2019.
Australian food manufacturers take their responsibility in relation to allergen labelling very seriously. AFGC has worked closely with organisations such as Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and the Coeliac Australia to provide meaningful information to help consumers manage their special dietary needs.
In 2005, the AFGC helped establish the Allergen Bureau to help industry in allergen identification and labelling issues.
Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management & Labelling
The Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling offers guidance in managing allergens. It’s relevant to those involved in the supply, handling, production, import and sale of foods. It was first development by the AFGC in 2007 but an updated edition was jointly published by the AFGC and Allergen Bureau in October 2019.
New to the Guide in 2019 are:
- Managing and communicating changes to the allergen status of a packaged food
- Differentiating similar products with differing allergen content
- Fuller consideration of the allergen labelling requirements for products sold in New Zealand
- Handling consumer contact regarding allergens in products
- Referral to related resources such as the Allergen Risk Review Website
BEST PRACTICE GUIDE – DATE MARKING
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) requires that a date mark be present on packaged food where the shelf life of the food is less than two years. The intention of date marking is to ensure consumer safety, provide a guide to retailers when to remove stock from sale, and provide a guide to consumers about the freshness and quality of the food. These requirements apply to both locally made and imported products. These provisions have been developed by AFGC, in consultation with food manufacturers and retailers, as an aid to the food industry in deciding whether packaged food should be labelled with a best-before or use-by date. Click here to download the Guide.
NON-FOOD GROCERY ITEMS
The labelling of non–food grocery items is regulated by a variety of legislation including: