Food and drink labelling and composition requirements

Use guidance prepared by MPI and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to prepare the different parts of a label.

Guidance for food labels

If you are a food manufacturer, processor, importer or consultant, you need to comply with labelling and composition requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). 

FSANZ user guides

User guides are available for the different types of information that appear on a food label. These have been developed by FSANZ in consultation with industry representatives and the Australian and New Zealand governments.

Name and description of food

The name of the food must accurately describe the food and must not be misleading. There is more information about naming and describing food products in Standard 1.2.2 of the Code.

Names that must be used

Some foods have prescribed names and these must be used on the label. These are included in Standards 2.2.1, 2.9.1 and 2.8.2 of the Code.

Lot identification

The label on a package of food normally requires lot identification.

You can find more about lot identification on a package of food in Standards 1.1.1 and 1.2.2 of the Code.

Percentage labelling for characterising ingredients or components

If the food contains any characterising ingredients or components you need to include certain information about this on the label. Characterising ingredients are:

  • ingredients that are mentioned in the name of the food
  • associated with the name of a food
  • emphasised on the label of a food in the form of words, pictures or graphics.

There are also certain ingredients that are not characterising ingredients.

You can find more about percentage labelling and characterising ingredients in Standard 1.2.10 of the Code and in the FSANZ Percentage labelling of food user guide.

Nutrition information

Most packaged foods require a Nutrition Information Panel (NIP). The NIP shows the quantities of key nutrients per serving and per 100g or 100ml. If you make any nutrition claims about your food products, they need to be quantified in the NIP.

You can find more about NIPs, which foods require them, and how the information must be presented, in Standard 1.2.8 of the Code or in the FSANZ Nutrition information user guide.

Nutrition panel calculator

The FSANZ website also provides a nutrition panel calculator which helps you calculate the average nutrient content of your food products.

New Zealand Food Composition Database

If you want to know what is in your food, the New Zealand Food Composition Database can provide this information. The New Zealand Food Composition Database contains information on the nutrient content of 2631 foods commonly prepared and eaten in New Zealand. 

Use and storage instructions

If food requires special use or storage conditions for reasons of health or safety, you need to put that information on the label.

You can find more information about safe use and storage in Standard 1.2.6 of the Code.

Country of origin

Country of origin labelling is voluntary in New Zealand. If you do choose to include the country of origin on the label it must be accurate.

Knowing the country of origin does not convey whether the food is safe or suitable. Whether or not food is safe depends on pre-market assessments before it is sold in New Zealand.

Advertising on food packages

Some of the space on a food package is used for advertising purposes.

Any advertising information on food packages must comply with Standard 1.1.1 of the Code, the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Food Act 2014.

The Fair Trading Act prohibits misleading and deceptive content, false representations and unfair practices. The Act is administered by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and enforced by the Commerce Commission.

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