Mastering Food Labelling Laws in Australia: Your Essential Guide to Compliance

food labelling Australia

Navigating the Intricacies of Food Labelling Laws in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding and complying with food labelling laws is crucial for manufacturers and small businesses. Honest food labels ensure consumer safety, guide informed purchasing decisions, and fulfil legal obligations. However, the intricacies of these regulations can be daunting. This comprehensive guide aims to simplify the labyrinth of food labelling laws in Australia, ensuring that businesses can confidently meet their obligations.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare, an English Playwright and Poet

The Foundation of Food Labelling Laws in Australia

Australia’s food labelling laws are governed by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which sets out the requirements in the Food Standards Code (Code). Businesses can ensure their products meet legal standards and consumer expectations by utilising available resources and expertise, and understanding key components of food labelling.

You will also find other government departments looking after other aspects of labelling such as net content requirements through the National Measurement Institute and Beverage Container Refund Schemes that are regulated by State and Territory Environmental departments.

The requirements for country of origin labelling, along with ensuring that the label does not contain false or misleading information is documented under Australian Consumer Law which is managed through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Navigating the Regulations

Here are some strategies to simplify the process:

Stay Informed

Regulations can and do change. Regularly consulting the FSANZ website or subscribing to industry newsletters can help you stay up-to-date with any changes. 

Seek Expertise

For businesses that find the task daunting, seeking help from experts like Food Labelling Experts can be a wise investment. Get access to food labelling courses tailored for simplicity and stress-free learning.

Utilise Tools and Resources

There are numerous tools and resources available, such as the Essentials Course offered by Food Labelling Experts, designed to break down the legislation into manageable sections. These resources can demystify the process and provide peace of mind.

The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.” – Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

Key Components of Food Labelling

The Code covers various aspects of labelling, including ingredient listings, nutrition information, allergen declarations, and country of origin.

Ingredient Listing

According to an article by FSANZ, all ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight. There are various ways for declaring added water and also specific requirements when compound ingredients are added to the food.  The statement of ingredients must identify each ingredient, using either the common name, a name that describes the true nature of the ingredient, or a generic name. This transparency helps consumers understand what they are consuming and make choices aligned with dietary restrictions or preferences. 

Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)

The NIP provides detailed information about the nutritional content of the food, including energy (calories), proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and sugars. This panel is a critical tool for consumers looking to manage their dietary intake.

Allergen Declaration

With food allergies on the rise, accurately declaring the presence of allergens in plain English is a legal and moral responsibility of food manufacturers. Common allergens include specific nuts, gluten, wheat, milk, and seafood.

Country of Origin (CoOL)

This labelling informs consumers about where the food was grown, produced, made, or packed. In an article by the Australian Government, they recommend adhering to the CoOL style guide. The guide provides information on: label components, label placement, label colours, minimum sizes, clear space, and incorrect label usages. This helps consumers make decisions based on preferences for local or international products.

Best Before and Use-By Dates

These dates are crucial for consumer safety, indicating when a food product is safe to consume in terms of quality and health.

Legibility Requirements

Labels must be clear, legible, and permanent. There must be a distinct contrast between the background colour and the mandatory information contained on the label. This ensures that consumers can access the information that they need to make a choice about the food they buy..

By adhering to these guidelines and seeking expert advice when necessary, businesses can provide transparency and safety to their customers, thereby enhancing their brand’s trust and credibility in the competitive food industry. So if you’re at a crossroad in your journey towards a compliant food label, get in touch with us at Food Labelling Experts. We will help you navigate the complexities of food labelling laws in Australia.


What are the basic requirements for food labelling in Australia?

  • In Australia, food labelling must include, among other requirements, an ingredient list, nutrition information panel (NIP), allergen declaration, country of origin, and best before or use-by dates. Labels must be clear, legible, and permanent to ensure consumer safety and informed choices.

How should ingredients be listed on a food label?

  • Ingredients must be listed in descending order of weight. This means the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first, providing transparency about the product’s composition.

What information must be included in the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)?

  • The NIP must provide information on energy (calories), protein, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, and sodium. This helps consumers understand the nutritional content of the food.

Are allergen declarations mandatory on food labels?

  • Yes, declaring allergens on food labels is mandatory in Australia. Common allergens include nuts, gluten, dairy, and seafood. This information is crucial for the safety of consumers with allergies.

How is the country of origin labelled on Australian food products?

  • The country of origin labelling provides information about where the food was grown, produced, made, or packed, helping consumers make informed choices based on their preferences.

What is the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use-by’ dates?

  • ‘Best before’ dates indicate when a product may start to lose its quality, while ‘use-by’ dates are used for items to indicate when the product may not be safe to eat.

Where can I find updates on food labelling regulations?

  • Updates on food labelling regulations can be found on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website. Staying informed through industry newsletters is also recommended.

How can small businesses ensure their food labels are compliant?

  • Small businesses can ensure compliance by regularly reviewing the FSANZ guidelines, using tools and resources designed to simplify food labelling, and seeking expertise from professionals like Food Labelling Experts. Their Essentials Course can provide valuable guidance in understanding and applying food labelling laws.

Unsure about your food labels? Get in touch with us today where food labelling is made simple for you. Ensure your labels are fully compliant with Australian laws through Food Labelling Experts’ tailored courses!

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