What is a food label?
Food labels tell people important information about the food or drink they are consuming – to help them know which food and drink is right for them, and if it is safe for them to eat or drink.
A supplier will need to provide accurate information about the ingredients they supply to a food manufacturer, so the manufacturer can accurately label the food products they make. There are rules for what information must go on these labels.
These rules are for labelling food that is not:
- for retail sale
- sold to caterers/food service businesses
- supplied as an intra company transfer.
An example is a bulk bag of flour supplied to a bread manufacturer that is not for retail sale.
You must label your food so it meets the rules of the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code. You could be fined, or your product could be recalled, if you label your product incorrectly.
Use our guide that includes checklists to help you.
If your packaged food is labelled for retail sale, you do not need to add anything further if it's sold to a manufacturer.
What must be on the package label
Your food label must:
- be part of or attached to the food
- be easy to read
- be written in English
- have the right information to meet the rules of the Code, the Fair Trading Act, and Weights and Measures Act.
The label may be:
- on the package, or
- if there is more than one layer of packaging, the label needs to be on the outer package.
If the food is in a transportation outer, the label needs to be clearly visible through the outer.
Identifying your food
Your food label must clearly have:
- an accurate name or description of the food: Some foods (for example, processed meat, honey, and infant formula) must use the exact names from the food standards code
- a lot/batch identification: to enable you to trace your product if it needs to be recalled
- net contents of food in an appropriate unit of measure: (for example, kg, g, ml, l) in text size 2mm or larger, and be near the name of the food
- the name and physical address of your New Zealand or Australian business. A PO box, website, or email address by itself is not enough.
Information that can be requested
The purchaser, or a food authority (MPI or a local council), can request information about your food to meet content, labelling, or other requirements of the food standards code. This information must be provided in writing if requested. This could include information such as allergens, nutrition information panel, and ingredient list.
Who to contact
If you have questions about labelling food sold to other businesses, email firstname.lastname@example.org