Food labelling- where to start to develop your own labels?
Some advice and resources to assist in the preparing and calculations required for your product labels
This is NOT an a exhaustive list of labelling requirements- rather a list of resources to get you started, so you can develop a draft label for your product:
Use this to draft and check your own label.
- Labelling requirements:
All food products sold in Australia must meet the requirements listed in the The Australian Food Standards
PART 1.2 Labelling and other information requirement
Guidance material is available athttp://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/Pages/default.aspx
- True and Accurate information
The product description and labelling artwork, including pictures, serves and claims should provide an accurate expectation of the product and not be misleading.
- Review your claims you have made about your product.All wording, artwork and depictions on all marketing material must be accurate.
- Review the information required for your product- Different types of products require different information. Food sold in a retail shop requires different information to food sold loose, unpackaged, prepared on site, prepared for catering purposes or ordered at the request of a customer.
- Determine what elements and information is required for a label for your product (see above)NSW Food Authority Labelling hubprovides information on labelling requirements.FSANZ websiteprovides information required for food products in Australia.
- FSANZ has a useful summary sheet "food labels what do they mean?"
All information must be in English and be legible.
- Australian Address
Ensure the name and Australian business street address is listed- Not a post box or postal address.
- Claims relating to Health and Nutrition benefits needs to meet the criteria in theFood Standards Code 1.2.7
Anonline calculator( FSANZNutrient Profiling Scoring Calculator)is available to help food businesses determine a food’s nutrient profile score for Nutrition claims, relating to a certainnutrient and health effect.
FSANZ has a useful guideline onGetting your Claims Right
- Nutrition Panelmust be in the correct Australian format.
Australia requires the nutrition panel in the FSANZ format. Here is some information regarding the Australian Requirements for the Nutrition Information Panel
Use your recipe and the free Nutrition Panel Calculator to calculate the correct information for your Nutrition Information Panel.
FSANZ Nutrition Panel Calculator
The Australian format for the nutrition panel must be used. This is a point of difference in many overseas imported food.
Include: Number of serves, Serving size (in grams), Average quantity per serving and Average quantity per 100 grams for:
energy, in kJ ( not calories!)
total fat , (g)
saturated fat, (g)
+ any other nutrient or biologically active substance that needs to be declared, especially if you make a health or nutrition claim.
There is a guide to using the FSANZ Nutrition Panel Calculator to generate a correct Nutrition Information Panel in the required Australian Format.
- The NPC calculator contains a database of nutrient profiles for over 2500 foods, that will assist you to calculate the nutrients for your ingredients. NPC files
- Alternatively Correct Food Systems can compile and produce a Nutrition Information Panel for your product, or convert overseas Nutrition Panels to the Australian Format- contact us
- Ingredient labelling.
List all ingredients from most to least by ‘weight at the time they are added’, including colouring and preservatives. Example: Name of product: Banana cake. Ingredients: rice flour, banana (20%), sugar.
- Percentage Labelling or Characterising ingredient-Most packaged foods have to carry labels which show the percentage of the key or characterising ingredients or components in the food. If your product name refers to a certain ingredient, must say the % of that ingredient (based on weight). Example: Date cake. Ingredients: flour, dates (15%), sugar, eggs, milk
- Date marking, shelf life and storage conditions.
It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to determine shelf life. Reliable Use-by or Best-before datesare required.
NSW Food Authority has a usefulguide on how to determine shelf life. See our blog entry dated 1/3/2017.
The Australian Food & Grocery Council also has a useful best practice guide to datemarking.
Storage in conditions other than those stated by the manufacturer will invalidate the manufacturers date mark.
The length of the use by time for foods can be determined by using storage trials to estimate the physical, chemical and microbiological stability of the food.This is best done by sending sample of food to a food testing laboratory. Correct Food Systems can assist you in sampling and interpreting microbiological test results.
- Allergen warnings and declarations
Review your allergen warning statements and declarations.
Australia recently adjusted their Allergen Labelling requirements.
See Webpage Plain English Allergen Labelling
The commonfood allergensand sulphite preservatives must be listed in the ingredients list, or in a separate statement on or near the food. Warning statements such as 'contains XXXX' or 'may contain traces of XXXX" must be clearly visible. Incorrect allergen information accounts for 32% of all food product recalls in Australia.
Allergen labelling is required on all foods subject to the general labelling requirements of the Code under Chapter1 of the Food Standards Code,Where the food is for retail or catering purposes and is exempt from labelling, the required allergen information must either be displayed on, or in connection with the display of the food, or provided to the purchaser upon request.
All allergen information should be grouped together to be easily identified and not hidden amongst other labelling information.
Allergens must be declared using plain English terms consistent with the Code legibility requirements are specified in Standard 1.2.9 of the Code. The print size should be large enough,clear andeasily read and in clear contrast to the background.
The recommended format of allergen labelling is:
-the ingredient list declaring in allergens in bold- using specific allergen terms
-an allergen summary statement listing all allergenic ingredients- using FSANZ specific allergen terms
-a precautionary warning statement identifying any allergens that may be present in the product.
The Australian Food & Grocery Council also has auseful best practice guide to allergen management and labelling.(2019), which does not reflect the recent changes to FSANZ Plain English Allergen Labelling (2021).
- Directions for use
Directions for use are included on a food label when consumers need specific instructions on how to use or prepare the food safely.
- Country of Origin
Country of Origin information to show where the food is grown made or packaged. Australia Country of Origin Requirements apply to a range of foods. Further information can be found here.
Non priority foods do not require Country of Allergen Labeling.
Use theInformation Standardto determine the correct label for each food product then using your recipe of ingredients determine the country of origin of all ingredients. Use this information to calculate the percentage of Australian Ingredients ( if applicable). Use theonline CoOL toolto produce the correct standard mark to place on your product.
- Use a label checklist to check the label for your product is correct and complete.
- Ensure your product information and images are accurate and authentic. The ACCC is active in pursuing incidents where product information for the consume is misleading or fraudulent.
Once you have completed a draft label using the above information and drafted your artwork Correct Food Systems can review your draft label and information using our detailed and comprehensive labelling requirement checklist, giving you the confidence that your labels are complete, legally compliant for Australia.
There is no legal requirementtohave a label compliance checked, but there is a requirement for all information to be accurate, not misleadingor fraudulent and to meet the current requirementsof the ACCC (Consumer Law), FSANZ Food Standard Code Part 1.2 Labelling and other information requirements specific to your product, such as alcohol, other applicable sections, and Australian Trades Weights and Measures.
Failure to have correct and accurate information may result in problems with importation into Australia, product recalls, and action by the ACCC, as appropriate.
Contact us to organise a comprehensive label review for your product.Correct Food Systems will charge the standard hourly rate for a label review. This hourly rate is applied to your project and specific product. Should you not feel confident of using the above tools and calculatorsthen Correct Food Systems can generate the correct information for you to use in your draft label, including a Nutrition Panel, Ingredientslist, Allergen Declaration, Country of Origin Mark, or complete a complete review and report for you, identifying complianceor recommendations for rectifications.
Every labelling projectand product is differentin its complexity and time required by our labelling experts- for examplea label for a single ingredient like tea or honey will take less time than a product that makes Nutrition or Health Claims, or complex products such as sports supplements, infant food etc.
The more complex your product claims and product ingredients, the longer the label review will take our experienced consultants. You will then be able to go to market, confident your label is compliant with all the requirements.
Should you not feel confident of using the above tools and calculatorsthen Correct Food Systems can generate the correct information for you to use in your draft label, including a Nutrition Panel, Ingredientslist, Allergen Declaration, Country of Origin Mark, or complete a complete review and report for you, identifying complianceor recommendations for rectifications.