Document Detail

Nutrition labelling: perspectives of a bi-national agency for Australia and New Zealand.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12074190     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) is a bi-national government agency forming a partnership between all of Australia's States and Territories and the New Zealand government. Australia New Zealand Food Authority employs scientific, legal policy, communication and administrative staff in our Australia and New Zealand offices. Prior to 1991 each of Australia's States and Territories had their own food standards; however, in 1991 Commonwealth legislation was introduced to consolidate responsibility for developing food standards in one specialist agency and to ensure the uniformity of Standards across all States and Territories in Australia. This was extended to New Zealand in 1995 when we became a bi-national agency following the signing of a Treaty between Australia and New Zealand to develop joint food standards for both countries. Australia New Zealand Food Authority's objectives in setting food standards are to: protect public health and safety; provide adequate information to enable consumers to make informed choices; and prevent misleading or deceptive conduct. Health Ministers have recently approved a new Joint Food Standards Code for Australia and New Zealand. This is the result of over 6 year's work and many rounds of public consultation. The new Code has had extensive input from government agencies, industry and consumers. In drafting the new code our emphasis has been on making decisions based on sound science and the most up-to-date information available. We also recognized the need for Standards to be practical in not imposing unnecessary costs on food manufacturers with an inevitable flow on effect to consumer prices. The Joint Code will replace both the existing Australian Food Standards Code and the New Zealand Food Regulations after a 2-year transition period. During the development of the Joint Code a wide range of matters were considered in relation to labelling. Amongst these were consumer needs, costs to industry, voluntary versus mandatory, enforcement issues, relationship to advertising and exemptions. A number of features of the new Code relate specifically to labelling and include: warning and advisory statements; ingredients lists; date marking; directions for use and storage; nutrition information; legibility requirements; and percentage labelling. One of the key features of the Joint Code is the requirement for most packaged foods to bear a nutrition information panel (NIP). Information must be presented on the amount of fat, saturated fat, protein, energy, carbohydrates, sugars and sodium. For the majority of foods the label is the first and only source of information regarding the nutritional content of food purchased. Mandatory nutrition labelling will ensure that consumers are provided with key nutritional information about foods. Single ingredient produce such as fruit and vegetables, and some other foods such as spices, tea and coffee will be exempt. The new requirements will give consumers more nutritional information to allow product comparison. All products will be required to provide information on these nutrients on both a per 100 g basis and in terms of an average serving. In addition to the mandatory nutrient declarations NIP are also required to carry additional data for any substance for which a nutrition claim is made. During the 2-year transition period to December 2002 ANZFA will be working with industry, enforcement agencies and consumers to help to ensure that there is a smooth transition to the Joint Food Standards Code.
Margaret A Curran
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition     Volume:  11     ISSN:  0964-7058     ISO Abbreviation:  Asia Pac J Clin Nutr     Publication Date:  2002  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-06-20     Completed Date:  2003-03-21     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9440304     Medline TA:  Asia Pac J Clin Nutr     Country:  Australia    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S72-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Australia New Zealand Food Authority, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Food / standards
Food Labeling / legislation & jurisprudence*
Government Agencies / legislation & jurisprudence*
Legislation, Food
New Zealand

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