FSANZ recommends a proposal for added sugar labelling

The issue of added sugar has been brewing for some time. It was mooted in the late 1990s when the [then] new ANZ Food Standards Code (FSC) was being developed. And it was raised again in 2011 in the recommendations of the Blewett food labelling review.

More recently in 2017 in response to the growing concern about Australians’ health status, the Health Ministers’ Meeting (formerly the Forum on Food Regulation) considered the need for added sugar labelling on packaged foods to provide consumers with additional information to help them make informed food choices. 

Two years later, Ministers requested FSANZto review nutrition labelling for added sugars in response to a policy paper prepared by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC). Ministers requested Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review three of the seven policy options for added sugars labelling:   

  • Quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel (NIP) as preferred by Ministers  
  • Applying a pictorial about sugar to sugary beverages/sugar-sweetened beverages, and  
  • Changing the statement of ingredients to identify sugars-based ingredients. 

FSANZ has assessed these options and considered any technical issues that may impede implementing the preferred option of including added sugars in the NIP. The FSANZ Board supports FSANZ developing a Proposal for amending the FSC to require an added sugar labelling in the NIP.  Pursuing a pictorial representation on sugar sweetened beverages (based on the caveat of HSR icon uptake by the non-alcoholic beverage sector) or amending the ingredients list requirements was not supported. Read more here. 

FSANZ’s report will be available on the FSANZ website in the coming month. Timelines for a Proposal which includes defining added sugars will be determined following the release of the report. The Proposal will include public consultation and consideration of costs and benefits as per the usual statutory process 

Once the call for submissions has been announced, the AFGC secretariat will reconvene the Added Sugar Working Group to develop the AFGC position and submission.