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Nutrional Information

Food Labelling Information for Consumers

Comprehensive food labelling requirements have been introduced into the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to ensure that consumers have adequate information to enable them to make informed choices when purchasing food.

In most circumstances packaged foods for retail sale or for catering purposes are required to bear a label setting out all the information prescribed in the Code. Foods for catering purposes refers to foods for use in restaurants, canteens, schools, caterers or self catering institutions, where food is offered for immediate consumption.

Country of Origin Labelling

On 1 July 2016 the Australian Government introduced laws on a new country of origin labelling system. Under the new system, country of origin labelling will be governed by Australian consumer law.

The new laws will require all manufacturers of packaged food products to have their labels meet the new requirements by 1 July 2018.

Further information on the new country of origin labelling system can be found on the Food Standards web site.

If you have a complaint/query about a food label and whether it complies with the current country of origin requirements, please contact Knox City Council’s Health Compliance Unit on 9298 8000.

Nutrition information panel

Most packaged food must have a nutrition information panel. This information must be presented in a standard format, which shows the amount per serve and per 100g.

What information is usually required for display on a food product

  • Nutrition information panel
  • Percentage labelling for the key ingredients
  • Name or description of the food
  • Food recall information (name and business address of the manufacturer or importer)
  • Information for allergy sufferers
  • Date marking either 'Best Before' or 'Use By'
  • Ingredient list
  • Food additives
  • Country of origin
  • Directions for use and storage
  • Lot or batch number

What foods don't need a label

  • Very small packages about the size of a chewing gum packet
  • Food with no significant nutritional value such as herbs and spices, coffee and tea
  • Food that is sold unpackaged unless a nutritional claim is made such as biscuits and cakes
  • Food made and packaged at the point of sale such as bread made in a bakery
  • Food sold at fund raising events
  • Whole or cut fresh fruit
  • Meat or seafood that is packaged at the point of sale

'Best Before' and 'Use By'

Food that has a shelf life of less than 2 years must have a 'Best Before' date. It may still be safe to eat after that date but may have lost some of its quality and nutritional value.

Food that should not be consumed after a certain date for health and safety reasons must have a 'Use By' date. An exception to this is bread, which can be labelled with a 'baked on' or 'baked for' date if its shelf life is less than 7 days.

Food labelling enquiries or complaints?

If you have a complaint relating to food labelling such as a premises selling food that is past its 'Use by' date or a food label that is misleading or has been changed or obscured in any way, you can contact Knox Council's Health Services on 9298 8000. It is unlawful to sell food that is past its 'Use by' date but it is not illegal to sell food that is past its 'Best before' date. For more information about the difference between these dates visit the websites listed below under 'More Information'.

Dairy Products

For enquiries or complaints relating to labelling of dairy food products you can contact Dairy Food Safety Victoria on 9810 5900 or visit the Dairy Food Safety Victoria website.

Meat/Seafood Products

For enquiries or complaints relating to labelling of meat or seafood products that are sold at a butcher or seafood premises (unless in a supermarket) you can contact PrimeSafe on 9685 7333 or you can visit the PrimeSafe website.

If your enquiry or complaint relates to a meat or seafood product that is sold in a supermarket you should contact Knox City Council's Health Compliance Unit on 9298 8000.

More Information

Visit the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website for more information about food labelling. You can also download a Food Labels poster, which provides more information about food labelling and what information must be displayed on a food product.

View a copy of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

You can also visit the Better Health website for information about how to better understand food labels. This site also includes information about food additives and what to look for if you are trying to avoid certain ingredients in food such as fat, sugar or salt.

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