Australia is a major producer of raw materials and processed foods, but imports a growing volume of food and beverages.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: AS1215
Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards -
FAIRS Country Report
Joseph Carroll, Agricultural Counselor
Lindy Crothers, Agricultural Marketing Specialist
All sections of this report have been reviewed and updated to reflect new or updated laws and regulations.
Australia is a major producer of raw materials and processed foods, but imports a growing volume of food and beverages.
Imports have increased steadily over recent years. U.S. exports of consumer ready products to Australia have risen by over
110 percent in value in the past five years. All foods sold in Australia must comply with a range of laws designed to protect
public health and safety, to ensure plant and animal pests and diseases are not introduced, and to assist consumers. These
laws apply equally to imported and locally produced foods. The information contained in this report deals with both public
health and quarantine requirements for foods imported into Australia. All imported food must first comply with quarantine
and imported food requirements and then with food safety requirements.
DISCLAIMER: This report has been prepared by the Office of Agricultural Affairs,
USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service in Canberra, Australia for U.S. exporters of
domestic food and agricultural products. While every possible care has been taken
in the preparation of this report, information provided may not be completely
accurate either because policies have changed since its preparation, or because
clear and consistent information about these policies was unavailable. It is highly
recommended that U.S. exporters verify the full set of import requirements with
their Australian customers, who are normally best equipped to research such
matters with local authorities, before any goods are shipped.
FINAL IMPORT APPROVAL OF ANY PRODUCT IS SUBJECT TO AUSTRALIA’S RULES
AND REGULATIONS AS INTERPRETED BY BORDER OFFICIALS AT THE TIME OF
Please contact this office if you have any comments, corrections or suggestions about the
material contained in this report.
Office of the Agricultural Counselor
Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Although Australia is a major producer of raw materials and processed foods, imports still represent a considerable and
growing proportion of available food and beverages. While locally based producers provide over 90 percent of domestic
consumption, imports have increased steadily in recent years. There are a number of reasons for this:
The changing population mix in a multicultural society, whereby people desire foods typical of their native cultures;
The increasing variety of quality, low cost foods available from developing countries;
The inability of domestic food producers to satisfy local demand;
Australian consumer tastes are changing - people are prepared to experiment with new foods and cuisines; and
The relatively strong Australian dollar.
Also, many imported foods do not compete with domestic products, because Australia does not produce or process such
foods or local production is insufficient to meet demand.
All foods sold in Australia must comply with a range of laws designed to protect public health and safety, to ensure plant
and animal pests and diseases are not introduced, and to assist consumers. These laws apply equally to imported and
locally produced foods. The information contained in this report deals with both public health and quarantine (i.e. animal
and plant health) requirements for foods imported into Australia.
All food imported into Australia must first comply with quarantine and imported food requirements and then with food
safety requirements. Quarantine requirements are the first barrier that must be cleared for all imported food.
Information on various sectors of the Australian market is available from the FAS Attache Reports site on the Internet.
SECTION I: FOOD LAWS
The Australia New Zealand food standards development system is a cooperative arrangement between the Commonwealth
of Australia, New Zealand and the Australian States and Territories in order to develop and implement uniform food
standards. The system for the development of joint Australia New Zealand food standards was established under a treaty
between Australia and New Zealand signed in December 1995. Within Australia, the system is based on a 1991
Commonwealth, State and Territory Agreement in relation to the adoption of uniform food standards.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ – www.foodstandards.gov.au) is a statutory authority operating under the
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. The Act provides a focus for cooperation between governments, industry
and the community to establish and maintain uniform food regulations in Australia and New Zealand.
The food standards development system is implemented by food legislation in each State and Territory and in New
Zealand, and by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority Act 1991 (the ANZFA Act) of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The ANZFA Act establishes the mechanisms for the development of joint food regulatory measures (a food standard or a
code of practice) and creates Food Standards Australia New Zealand as the agency responsible for the development and
maintenance of a joint Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC). In 2005 and 2006 the Australia New Zealand
Food Regulation Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation agreed to a number of measures to expedite
FSANZ’s assessment and approval processes and better protect commercially valuable information. As a result, the Food
Standards Australia New Zealand Amendment Bill 2007 was passed on June 20, 2007. Since October 1, 2007, all
applications received are assessed under the reform assessment process. This harmonizes, as far as possible, the processes
for the assessment of applications and proposals and aligns the processes for setting of Maximum Residue Limits of the
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and FSANZ. The reforms also enable the development of urgent
standards due to unforeseen negative impacts on trade.
Although FSANZ develops food standards, responsibility for enforcing and policing food standards rests with the States and
Territories in Australia and the New Zealand Government in New Zealand. Each government has one or more agencies
within their health administrations responsible for food surveillance that are charged with the task of ensuring the
requirements of the ANZFSC are met.
The ANZFSC is a collection of individual food standards. Standards on related matters are grouped together into Parts,
which in turn are collected together into four Chapters. Chapter 1 deals with standards which apply to all foods; however,
New Zealand regulates its own Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for food, so Standard 1.4.2 regulates MRLs in Australia
only. Chapter 2 deals with standards affecting particular classes of foods. Chapter 3 deals with food hygiene issues in
Australia only – New Zealand has its own food hygiene arrangements, and food hygiene is not part of the joint food
standards system. Chapter 4 deals with Primary Production Standards in Australia only.
Food standards have the force of law. It is a criminal offence in Australia to supply food that does not comply with relevant
food standards. Notwithstanding food standards, it is also an offence to sell food which is damaged, deteriorated or
perished, which is adulterated, or which is unfit for human consumption. Because food standards are given legal effect by
State, Territory and New Zealand laws, it is important to read the ANZFSC in conjunction with the relevant food legislation.
The ANZFSC should also be read in conjunction with other applicable laws, such as the Australian Competition & Consumer
Act 2010 (previously called the Trade Practices Act 1974) - particularly the provisions relating to conduct which is false,
misleading or deceptive - which applies to the supply of food in trade and commerce. An overview of the legislation is
available on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) web site. The ACCC has produced a number of
guides to assist people involved in the food industry to meet their obligations under the Act. Specifically, there are guides
available on food labeling, the use of food descriptors, and country of origin labeling.
Food standards are developed or varied by FSANZ, either by application from any individual, agency or body or by a
proposal of its own initiative. Notices are published by FSANZ via media release in Australia and New Zealand seeking
comment from the public on applications and proposals.
When assessing a food regulatory matter, FSANZ is required to take into account:
any submissions received from the public in response to its public notices;
three statutory objectives listed in order of priority:
a. the protection of public health and safety;
b. the provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices;
c. the prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct;
Other factors set out in the Act:
a. the need for standards to be based on risk analysis using the best available scientific evidence;
b. the promotion of consistency between domestic and international food standards;
c. the desirability of an efficient and internationally competitive food industry; and
d. the promotion of fair trading in food.
relevant New Zealand standards; and
any other relevant matters.
The most recent version of the ANZFSC is available at the following site:
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
Food Standards Australia New Zealand protects the health and safety of the people in Australia and New Zealand by
maintaining a safe food supply. FSANZ is a bi-national independent statutory authority that develops food standards for
composition, labeling and contaminants, including microbiological limits, that apply to all foods produced, or imported for
sale, in Australia and New Zealand. FSANZ works in partnership with Australia's Commonwealth, State and Territory
governments and the New Zealand Government.
In Australia, FSANZ develops food standards to cover the whole of the food supply chain - from paddock [field] to plate - for
both the food manufacturing industry and primary producers.
FSANZ’s responsibilities include:
Developing standards for food manufacturing, labeling, processing and primary production;
Providing information to consumers to enable better consumer choice;
Coordinating national food surveillance, enforcement and food recall;
Conducting consumer and industry research;
Undertaking dietary exposure modeling and scientific risk assessments; and
Providing risk assessment advice on imported food.
The Australia and New Zealand Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation develops policy guidance which is
then used by Food Standards Australia New Zealand to guide the development of food standards for the Australia and New
Zealand Food Standards Code. The Australian Government, States and Territories and the New Zealand Government are
represented by their Health Ministers on this Forum. Health Ministers are joined by Ministers from other relevant
portfolios such as agriculture and consumer affairs, to ensure a whole-of-government approach to food safety regulation.
The Food Standards Code is adopted under the Food Acts of each of the States and Territories and New Zealand. The Food
Standards Code is also enforced through these government agencies. It is a criminal offence in Australia to supply food that
does not comply with the relevant food standard.
Foods available for sale in Australia and New Zealand must also comply with relevant fair-trading and trade practice laws,
food laws, and other laws such as those protecting the environment and controlling the use of poisons, etc.
Food standards can be varied through a process which starts either by receipt of an application (which may be initiated by
individuals, companies or bodies representing an industry or consumer group) or a proposal (initiated by FSANZ and usually
covering more complex public health and safety issues). Manufacturers wanting to introduce a new food, make a food
using a new process, or use a new additive, should first check to see whether the ANZFSC already has suitable standards.
Where it doesn’t, FSANZ can be requested to develop a new standard or vary an existing one. Major amendments to the
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 passed the Australian Parliament on June 20, 2007. These amendments
affected how FSANZ assesses applications and proposals to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code from
October 1, 2007. A key amendment relates to applications, whereby all applications are now required to include certain
minimum information as detailed in the FSANZ Act and in the Application Handbook.
Detailed information on the process of applications and proposals is available on the Information for Applicants page on
the FSANZ web site at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/changingthecode/informationforapplicants/
If you wish to apply for the development of a new standard or variation of an existing standard, detailed information is
Standards Management Officer
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
P.O. Box 7186
Canberra BC, ACT 2610
Tel: +61 2 6271 2222
Fax: +61 2 6271 2278
In Australia, FSANZ also:
Coordinates food product recalls in cooperation with the States and Territories;
Conducts research on matters that may be included in a food standard;
Undertakes food safety education initiatives in cooperation with the States and Territories;
Develops Codes of Practice for industry on any matter that may be included in a food standard;
Develops risk assessment policies for foods imported into Australia.
FSANZ can be contacted at the following address:
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
P.O. Box 7186
Canberra BC, ACT 2610
Tel: +61 2 6271 2222
Fax: +61 2 6271 2278
Imported Food Inspection Scheme
All foods sold in Australia must comply with a range of laws designed to protect public health and safety, uphold Australia’s
quarantine regulations, and to assist consumers. These laws apply equally to imported and locally produced foods. The
following information deals with both public health and quarantine (i.e., animal & plant health) requirements for foods
imported into Australia. The requirements for each are quite different, but the import clearance of foods is the
responsibility of Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and is coordinated under the Imported Food
Inspection Scheme (IFIS).
All food imported into Australia must in the first instance comply with quarantine requirements and then the requirements
of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. A release issued after the quarantine inspection is NOT a clearance from the IFIS
All incoming shipments of food must be declared to the Australian Customs Service using the international harmonized
tariff schedules. AQIS has a direct link to the Customs computer network and is able to place impediments on foods that
Importers of targeted foods are obliged to go to AQIS to secure the release of the goods. With risk-category foods, the
criterion for the release of goods and whether or not the food needs to be inspected is based on the compliance history of
AQIS maintains its own computer network linking inspectors in all States and Territories. The system holds records of the
inspection status of all overseas suppliers of risk foods and, through the network inspection staff can be notified as to
whether or not an inspection for a particular shipment is required.
While the focus of the IFIS is on food safety, imported foods must comply with all requirements of the ANZFSC. It is the
legal responsibility of the importer to ensure they do so. U.S. exporters should not assume that because their products are
accepted in other markets (e.g. European Union, Japan) that they will be automatically accepted in Australia. Often the
Australian standards differ in such areas as the description of the product; its composition; the use of preservatives, if any
preservatives are permitted (and what residual levels may remain); and what colorings are permitted and at what levels.
AQIS inspectors check the food against the requirements of the ANZFSC. Inspectors examine all referred foods for labeling
compliance and a visual inspection. The visual inspection involves, where necessary, opening the packages and examining
the food for contamination and the package for defects that may impact on food safety.
Inspectors will ensure that the label:
is in English;
has an accurate trade description;
has manufacturer/importer details;
has the Country of Origin declared;
has batch/lot codes;
has date marking (in the correct format);
has net weight – contents; and
has statement of ingredients (where appropriate).
AQIS has a managed process whereby importers are given the opportunity to check labeling for compliance with the
requirements of the ANZFSC and, where necessary, to make corrections to the labeling prior to arranging an IFIS inspection.
Importers must ensure that the consignment has cleared quarantine before undertaking any examination of their food for
Rather than reject foods for import entry, AQIS will allow corrective action to be taken for significant breaches. Minor
defects will generally be cleared on an undertaking from the importer that the problem will be fixed. However, repeated
failures could result in a Holding Order being issued (see below for details).
At the time of the inspection, the AQIS officer may take samples for laboratory analysis to determine the food's
microbiological status, levels of any pesticide residues, the correct use of additives and the food's composition.
It is the importer's responsibility to ensure that the foods they import comply with the requirements of the ANZFSC. The
requirements of the ANZFSC can be complex and if U.S. exporters are not sure if their foods will comply, they should check
with their importer and have them seek legal advice or ask a consultant food technologist. Having a food assessed prior to
importation reduces the risk of any unnecessary delays and any additional expense if food is found not to comply after
arrival in Australia.
Where U.S. exporters are in any doubt about what quarantine prohibitions or restrictions may apply to foods that they are
interested in exporting to Australia, they are encouraged to contact AQIS prior to shipment.
Imported Food Program
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
GPO Box 858
Canberra, ACT 2601
Tel: +61-2-6272 5488
Fax: +61-2-6272 5423
Email: Imported Food
The IFIS is jointly run by the AQIS and FSANZ, with FSANZ advising on food risk assessment policy for the program and AQIS
having operational responsibility for inspection and sampling.
Authorized AQIS offices carry out inspections of food against Australian requirements. The standards applied are those set
down in the ANZFSC and these same standards apply to foods manufactured in Australia.
When food is imported into Australia, it is placed into one of two inspection categories. These categories determine the
frequency with which the food will be inspected. The categories are: (1) risk, and (2) surveillance. FSANZ advises AQIS,
based on a risk assessment process, which food belongs in which category. These food inspection categories are regularly
reviewed by FSANZ.
Risk category food: FSANZ categorizes food as 'risk' if it has the potential to pose a medium to high risk to public health.
FSANZ advise AQIS of the risk category for food, which determines the frequency with which it will be inspected and the
appropriate testing regime. Risk food is referred to AQIS by Customs at a rate of 100% of consignments.
Risk food is initially inspected and tested at a rate of 100% against a published list of potential hazards—including micro-
organisms and contaminants. Once five consecutive consignments have passed inspection, the inspection rate is reduced to
25%; after a further 20 consecutive passes, the inspection rate is reduced to 5%.
Risk foods are subject to 'test and hold' direction and are not released for sale until test results are known. Consignments of
risk food which fail inspection and therefore do not meet Australian standards cannot be imported. These foods must be
brought into compliance otherwise the food will be re-exported or destroyed.
Regardless of the manufacturer’s history of compliance, any consignments that fail result will increase the rate of
inspection and testing until a history of compliance is re-established.
The list of risk-categorized foods is subject to change at any time and AQIS may inspect and analyze other foods which it
has reason to believe may not comply with the requirements of the ANZFSC. The latest AQIS Imported Food Notices, which
includes the latest notice relating to the tests applied to risk category foods, are available at:
Surveillance category food: All other foods are considered to pose a low risk to human health and safety and are referred
by Customs at the rate of 5% of consignments for inspection by AQIS for compliance with Australian food standards. These
foods are referred to as 'surveillance foods'. Analyses applied to these foods include those for pesticides and antibiotics
above accepted levels, microbiological contaminants, natural toxicants, metal contaminants and food additives.
As the surveillance foods are considered to be low risk, they are subject to a 'test and release' direction and can be
distributed for sale before test results have been received. However, if AQIS receives adverse test results, the relevant state
or territory food regulatory authority is advised so they can determine if a recall is required. Any action, such as a recall or
withdrawal taken on goods released by an importer is at the importer's expense.
The inspection rate for surveillance food that fails inspection is also increased to 100% until a history of compliance is
established for the producer or importer of the food. The process for increasing inspection of surveillance food is referred
to as applying a Holding Order. A holding order remains in place until favorable test results are received. Following five
consecutive passes the rate of referral returns to 5% of consignments.
The latest AQIS Imported Food Notices, which includes the latest notice relating to the tests applied to surveillance
category foods, are available at: http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/import/food/notices.
In the event of an active or surveillance food not complying with the ANZFSC, a Holding Order may be issued. A Holding
Order effectively means that the inspection category of the food has been raised to “risk” status. This means that all future
shipments of that food from the offending supplier will be automatically detained and held until compliance with
Australia's requirements is confirmed. After five clear inspections, the food reverts back to its prior surveillance category.
Further details on the Holding Order process are available at: http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/import/food/holding-orders.
When any food is imported into Australia it must first comply with quarantine requirements.
Control in Australia is achieved by the total prohibition of some foods, or foods from certain countries. Additionally,
Australia has strictly controlled import conditions that require various treatments (e.g. fumigation, time/temperature
controls, etc.) that must be supported by import permits and attestations on export certificates from authorities in the
country of origin. Examples of products for which Australia requires attestations from authorities in the country of origin
chicken meat and chicken meat products
pork and pork products
beef and beef products
egg and egg products
fruits and vegetables
All of these products are either not permitted, or are permitted under strict supervision. Generally, if a food is processed to
an extent that would eliminate the hazard that is of quarantine concern to Australia, there is no restriction.
U.S. exporters need to determine exactly what restrictions exist on the foods they wish to export to Australia. In some
cases a prohibition exists simply because an import risk analysis from which appropriate control measures can be
determined has not been requested. In this case, import would not be permitted until an import risk analysis has been
The Australian government has a formal mechanism in place for evaluating the degree of risk associated with the
importation of certain products or produce from foreign countries. The evaluation procedure involves other governments,
industry groups, academia and consumers. The evaluation is often a protracted exercise and can take some years to
complete, particularly for foods that are unprocessed or only partially processed, as these are perceived to represent the
greatest danger of carrying pests and diseases into Australia.
AQIS maintains a searchable import conditions database for agricultural products entering Australia (known as ICON) at the
following site. http://www.aqis.gov.au/icon/asp/ex_querycontent.asp.
Section II: Labeling Requirements
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has responsibility for the administration of the Australia New Zealand Food
Standards Code (ANZFSC), which is subject to frequent amendment. The labeling requirements stated below are subject to
change, so the ANZFSC should be consulted for definitive information on current food labeling requirements. The most up-
to-date version of the ANZFSC is available on the FSANZ website at
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/foodstandardscode.cfm. FSANZ has also developed ‘User Guides’ for
various parts of the ANZFSC to assist with interpretation and provide examples. Where a User Guide is available for a
standard, a link has been provided from this report. The User Guides, unlike the ANZFSC itself, are not legally binding. If in
any doubt about interpreting the standards, you should seek independent legal advice.
Chapter 1 of the ANZFSC covers the general standards that apply to all foods.
Chapter 2 contains standards for a number of specific commodity groups. These are:
Part 2.1 – Cereals (User Guide available for Standard 2.1.1)
Part 2.2 - Meat, eggs & fish (User Guide available for Standard 2.2.1)
Part 2.3 - Fruit & vegetables
Part 2.4 - Edible oils
Part 2.5 - Dairy products
Part 2.6 - Non-alcoholic beverages
Part 2.7 - Alcoholic beverages
Part 2.8 - Sugars & honey
Part 2.9 - Special purpose foods
Part 2.10 - Standards for other foods (salt, vinegar & chewing gum)
Chapter 3 relates to food safety standards that apply to Australia only and Chapter 4 relates to primary production
standards which also apply to Australia only.
General Labeling Standard
There is a User Guide available which gives an overview for labeling of food for retail sale & for catering purposes.
Part 1.2 of the ANZFSC sets out the application of general labeling and other information requirements, and labeling and
information requirements specific to certain foods in Chapter 2 of the ANZFSC. This Part sets out the labeling requirements
for food for sale and information that must be provided in conjunction with the sale of certain foods, where labeling is not
required. Food Product Standards in Chapter 2 may impose additional labeling and information requirements for specific
classes of food.
Unless specifically exempted, the label on a package of food for retail sale or for catering purposes must include the
following core information:
Prescribed name or, where no name is prescribed, a name or a description of the food sufficient to indicate the true
nature of the food
Name and business address in Australia or New Zealand of the supplier
Mandatory warning and advisory statements and declarations, specified in Standard 1.2.3 and any other warning
and advisory statements specified elsewhere in the ANZFSC
Nutrition information panel
Percentage labeling (characterizing ingredient/s and component/s)
Directions for use or storage where, for reasons of public health and safety, consumers need appropriate directions
for use or storage of the food
Country of Origin must be stated on products made and sold in Australia, other than food products from New
Clause 2 of Standard 1.2.1 describes the circumstances where food for retail sale or for catering purposes may be
exempt from bearing a label.
The Name of the Food
The label on a package of food must include:
the prescribed name of the food, where the name is declared in the ANZFSC to be a prescribed name; and
in any other case, a name or a description of the food sufficient to indicate its true nature.
The name or description of the food should be sufficiently specific to differentiate it from other foods and reflect its true
nature. There is no specific requirement as to where this information should appear on a label.
There are a few prescribed names in the ANZFSC. A prescribed name is a name by which a food is defined or described in a
standard and is declared to be a prescribed name in that Standard. Examples include ‘honey’, ‘formulated supplementary
food’ and ‘formulated supplementary food for young children’.
In accordance with food law and fair trading law, suppliers must not represent foods in a false, misleading or deceptive
Clause 1 of Standard 1.2.2 - Food Identification Requirements includes the requirements for naming food.
Lot marking is required on packaged food to assist in the event of a food recall. A lot mark identifies the ‘lot’ a food comes
from as well as the premises from where the food was packed or prepared. A date mark and address details can help satisfy
the requirements of a lot mark.
There are some specific exemptions from lot identification. These exemptions cover:
Individual portions of ice cream or ice confection; and
Food in small packages when the bulk packages and the bulk container in which the food is stored or displayed for
sale includes lot identification.
Clause 2 of Standard 1.2.2 - Food Identification Requirements includes the requirements for lot identification.
Name and Business Address of Supplier
The label on a package of food must include the name and business address in Australia of the supplier of the food. The
term ‘supplier’ includes the packer, manufacturer, the vendor or importer of the food. Business address means a
description of the location of the premises from which the business in question is being operated, but does not include a
Clause 3 of Standard 1.2.2 - Food Identification Requirements includes the requirements for the name and business
address of the supplier.
Mandatory Warning & Advisory Statements and Declarations (Standard 1.2.3)
There is a User Guide available for this Standard.
The ANZFSC requires that certain information be provided to consumers on labels on packaged food. This information may
be in the form of a warning statement, which includes prescribed wording, an advisory statement or a specific declaration,
depending on the degree of risk to the health and safety of consumers. Some of these statements and declarations are set
out in general standards and some are set out in commodity standards. U.S. exporters should make certain that they
understand the requirements and have all the required statements on their labels.
For guidance on the use and application of all warning and advisory statements and the declaration of certain
substances in food see the User Guide on warning and advisory declarations.
Mandatory warning statements: A warning statement is a prescribed labeling statement that must be expressed on a
label on a package of food in the exact words and in the format specified in the ANZFSC. Warning Statements are defined in
A prescribed warning statement is required on:
Royal jelly presented as a food and food containing royal jelly (Standard 1.2.3). This is the only mandatory warning
statement which is applicable across the food supply;
Warning statements applicable to specific foods are for:
Kava (Standard 2.6.3);
Infant Formula Products (Standard 2.9.1);
Infant foods (Standard 2.9.2); and,
Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods (Standard 2.9.4).
Mandatory advisory statements: Mandatory advisory statements do not need to be expressed in the exact words set out
in the ANZFSC. Manufacturers are able to use their own words for advisory statements as long as the words are to the
effect of the statement in the ANZFSC, i.e. the words convey the intended meaning.
Mandatory advisory statements are required on certain foods or when certain substances are present in foods. Clause 2 of
Standard 1.2.3 lists the foods required to bear mandatory advisory statements. Such statements must be ‘set out legibly
and prominently such as to afford a distinct contrast to the background’ as required in Standard 1.2.9.
Other prescribed statements are required in standards throughout the Code. Please refer to the User Guide for guidance
on which parts of the Code require other prescribed statements.
Mandatory declarations of certain substances in food: Certain substances, in the form of an ingredient, ingredient of a
compound ingredient, or component of a food additive or a processing aid, or component of a processing aid, must be
declared when present in a final food. This must be done in the circumstances outlined in Standard 1.2.3. The requirement
to declare certain substances may be satisfied by the declarations in the ingredient list. Clause 4 of Standard 1.2.3 lists
substances to be declared.
Ingredient Listing (Standard 1.2.4)
There is a User Guide available for this standard.
Unless specifically exempted (see Clause 2 of this standard for a list of exemptions), packaged foods are required to list all
the ingredients and compound ingredients used in the manufacture of that food. An ingredient means any substance,
including food additives, used in the preparation of food. A compound ingredient means an ingredient of a food, which is
itself made up of two or more ingredients, e.g. spaghetti, which is made up of flour, egg and water.
Ingredients and compound ingredients must be declared in a statement of ingredients in descending order of ingoing
weight subject to limited exceptions. Ingredients must be declared in the statement of ingredients using the common
name of the ingredient; or, a name that describes the true nature of the ingredient; or, where applicable, a generic name
set out in the table to Clause 4 of Standard 1.2.4. It should be sufficiently detailed to describe the ingredient, and accurate
to ensure they are not false, misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive.
Date Marking (Standard 1.2.5)
There is a User Guide available for this standard.
Packaged food is generally required to be date-marked, usually in the form of a ‘best-before’ or ‘use-by’ date. Food with a
‘best-before’ date of two or more years is exempt from date marking. Additional exemptions, including those for small
packages, are set out in Clause 2 of Standard 1.2.5.
When, for health and safety reasons, a food should not be consumed after a certain date, a ‘use-by’ date is required. There
is information in the User Guide to assist with deciding whether a product needs a ‘use-by’ or ‘best-before’ date.
There are also prescribed forms for date marks and dates (see Clause 5), and requirements to include statements of specific
storage conditions on labels of packaged food (see Clause 6).
Nutrition Labeling (Standard 1.2.8)
There is a User Guide available for this standard. Part A of the User Guide explains when nutrition information is required
and the way in which it must be represented. Part B outlines the requirements in the Code for nutrition claims.
Subject to specific exemptions, food required to bear a label must display a nutrition information panel setting out the
energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium content of the food. A nutrition information panel
must be set out in the prescribed format and must include the number of servings in the package and the average quantity
of the food in a serving.
Additional nutrition labeling requirements generally apply if a specific nutrition claim is made (see Part B of the User
Guide). Division 3 of Standard 1.2.8 sets out conditions for making certain nutrition claims.
Clause 3 of this Standard lists exemptions from nutrition information requirements.
U.S. exporters should work closely with their importer to get the nutritional panel correct, as this is an area where
problems are often encountered. The U.S. style nutrition panel is not acceptable for the Australian market.
A Nutrition Panel Calculator is available to assist with calculating amounts for the Nutrition Panel.
Percentage labeling (characterizing ingredients and components) (Standard 1.2.10)
There is a User Guide available for this standard.
Foods that have a characterizing ingredient(s) and/or component(s) must be labeled with a percentage declaration of the
characterizing ingredient or component. The percentage declaration is calculated on the basis of the ingoing weight of the
characterizing ingredient or component. The percentage declaration may be an actual amount or a minimum amount,
provided that a minimum declaration is clearly labeled. Placement of the declaration on the label is not prescribed. Where
it is included in the ingredient list, it must appear immediately after the name of the ingredient in the list.
Clause 2 of this Standard lists exemptions from percentage declarations.
Directions for Use and Storage (Standard 1.2.6)
Directions for use and/or storage are mandatory where consumers need directions about specific use or storage
requirements because of the nature of the food and for reasons of public health and safety.
This standard operates in addition to the date marking requirements in Standard 1.2.5. The commodity standards in
Chapter 2 of the ANZFSC may prescribe additional specific requirements for directions for use and/or storage.
Country of Origin Labeling (Standard 1.2.11)
In December 2005, FSANZ signed into law the new Country of Origin Food Labeling Standard for Australia only – Standard
1.2.11. The new standard had a phase-in period and came into full force for unpackaged fruit, vegetables, nuts and seafood
for Australia-only products on June 8, 2006, for some unpackaged pork products on December 8, 2006, and for packaged
goods on December 8, 2007. In May 2012, FSANZ approved the extension of country of origin labeling to unpackaged beef,
sheep and chicken meat (see announcement).
The standard includes:
A requirement that unpackaged products included in the standard have a specific country-of-origin label – not just a
statement that the product is imported;
Distinct statement of origin information on packaged products;
A requirement for country of origin declarations for packaged and unpackaged foods to be consistent with trade
practices legislation and trade practices law; and,
Requirements for legibility and print size on labels and signs used to declare the country of origin for unpackaged
U.S. suppliers should pay close attention to the requirements of this standard to ensure that they do not breach the
principles of the Competition & Consumer Act. Particular guidance is given in the standard with regard to ‘product of’ and
‘made in’ statements (see information provided later in this report, Section VI, relating to the requirements of the
Competition & Consumer Act as it relates to Country of Origin statements).
Weights and Measures Requirements
Package weight is not governed by the ANZFSC. Australia does, however, have national system of trade measurement,
which is under the administration and regulatory oversight of the National Measurement Institute. Please check this
website for details on weights and measurements requirements.
The two core requirements with respect to packaging of prepackaged products are that the package must be marked with:
1) the name and address of the person who packed the product (or on whose behalf it was packed) in a clear,
conspicuous and legible manner on the main display panel; and
2) a statement of the net measurement in a clear, conspicuous and legible manner. The measurement must be
declared in metric terms.
Pre-packed goods, including food, must be labeled with a mark that states the measurement of the package (weight,
volume, length, area or number). Measurement markings must:
be clear, conspicuous, readily seen and easily read when the article is exposed for sale in the manner in which it is
likely to be exposed for sale
appear on the main display part of the package and close to, and marked to be read in the same direction as, any
name or brand of the article to which it relates
be at least 2mm from the limits of the package and separated by at least 2mm in all directions from other graphic
matter or copy; and
be in a form in which units of measurement under the metric system are ordinarily written in the English language;
and stamped or printed in a color that provided a distinct contrast with the color of the background and be of at
least the minimum height specified.
Labeling of Genetically Modified foods (Standard 1.5.2)
Mandatory labeling of foods of agricultural biotechnology (‘genetically modified’), where introduced DNA or protein is
present in the final food, came into force on December 7, 2001.
Under the Standard, food or ingredients labeled ‘genetically modified’ contain new genetic material or protein as a result of
the genetic modification or have altered characteristics, e.g. changed nutritional values, compared to the conventional
food. Some flavorings may also be derived from genetically modified organisms, but labeling is only required if they are in a
concentration of more than 1 gram per kilogram (0.1%). Food additives and processing aids do not need to be labeled
unless the introduced genetic material is present in the final food.
Under the labeling standard, for packaged foods the words 'genetically modified' must be used in conjunction with the
name of the food, or in association with the specific ingredient within the ingredient list; and for unpackaged foods for
retail sale (such as unpackaged fruit and vegetables, or unpackaged processed or semi-processed foods) the words
'genetically modified' must be displayed in association with the food, or in association with the particular ingredient within
Food prepared for immediate consumption – for example, in restaurants and take-outs – does not need to have genetically
modified ingredients identified.
Claims about foods not produced using gene technology - for example, "GM-free", must be consistent with the provisions
of the overarching consumer protection laws in the Competition & Consumer Act in Australia (see Section VI in this report)
and the Fair Trading Act in New Zealand, as well as food legislation in both countries.
Additional User Guides
In addition to the User Guides mentioned throughout the sections above, Guides are also available for:
Mandatory Iodine Fortification User Guide (Australia only)
Mandatory Folic Acid Fortification User Guide’: This document gives guidance on implementing the requirements of the
Mandatory Fortification with Folic Acid under Standard 2.1.1 (Cereals & Cereal Products) which requires that all wheat flour
for making bread, with the exception of flour represented as organic, must be fortified with folic acid.
Meat and Meat Products: This guide clarifies the intent of many of the provisions in Standard 2.2.1 and explains how other
standards in the new Code relate to meat and meat product
Microbiological Limits for Foods: This guide explains information in Standard 1.6.1 and presents microbiological guideline
criteria that are additional to the standard but not mandatory.
Methods of Analysis for Foods: This guide will help analysts to choose appropriate methods of analysis for food where
these are not specified in the Code
Generally Expected Levels ( GELS) for Metal Contaminants: This guide helps to identify a range of contaminant levels that
would normally be expected in particular foods.
Section III: Packaging and Container Regulations
There are no packaging or container size regulations for food products in Australia. Manufacturers may pack food in any
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC) does not regulate the manufacture of packaging materials.
Consequently, the ANZFSC does not specify which materials may be added to or used to produce food packaging materials
or any articles and materials in contact with food. It is the responsibility of food manufacturers and retailers to ensure that
the products used in association with food are safe and that the food complies with the general requirements in the
Australian and New Zealand Food Acts and with the specific requirements in the ANZFSC which relate to contaminants -
Standard 1.4.3, Articles and Materials in Contact with Food.
Legibility Requirements (Standard 1.2.9)
There is a User Guide available for this standard.
Any information required in or on a food label needs to comply with legibility requirements as set out in Standard 1.2.9.
The ANZFSC requires that all food labels must present information so that it is:
prominent (such as to afford a distinct contrast to the background), and
This approach allows manufacturers flexibility in label presentation but requires them to ensure that the information is
clearly and readily accessible to the consumer. Additional legibility requirements apply to warning statements. These are
In order to be legible, information on food labels should be:
Indelible—Printing that under normal conditions of use and storage fades, runs, or is rubbed off would no longer be
legible or prominent. A label with such printing would not comply with Standard 1.2.9.
Distinct—Decorations and embellishments such as logos should not interfere with the legibility of the words on the
label. Text printed on complex or pictorial or otherwise multicolored backgrounds is unlikely to be adequately
legible in many cases.
Easy to read—The use of all lower case or all capitals is not prescribed in the Code. However, statements in sentence
or title case are usually easier to read than statements in upper case or in mixed case.
A minimum size of type is not required for most information required on food labels (except warning statements – see
below). It is up to the manufacturer to determine which type size is best for such information, provided the label is legible.
National trade measurement laws control the measurement of pre-packed articles by quantity. The National Measurement
Institute (NMI) web pages contain details of the requirements for businesses in relation to pre-packaged goods including
details of the position, size, etc. for where the measurement information must appear on a label. Other regulations may
also be downloaded from the NMI Measurement Legislation page.
All the labeling information required by the ANZFSC must be in English. Information in other languages is permitted on a
label of a package of food or in association with a display of food, so long as the information does not negate or contradict
the information on the label in English.
Further legibility requirements for mandatory warning and other statements
Warning statements: Certain warning statements are required to be expressed on the label of packages of specific foods.
The words for each warning statement are prescribed and must be written on the label using the text required under the
ANZFSC. For most packages, each letter or numeral must be at least 3 mm in size when measured from the base to the top
of the letter or numeral. Separate requirements apply to small packages. Manufacturers may choose the type and style of
lettering of a warning statement, ensuring that the statement is legible and prominent so as to afford a distinct contrast to
Advisory statements or mandatory declarations: The ANZFSC also requires information to be provided about certain foods
and substances in the form of mandatory declarations or advisory statements. The Code does not prescribe exact wording
or a minimum type size for these statements. Where such statements are required, in presenting them manufacturers must
comply only with the general legibility requirements of Standard 1.2.9.
Legibility requirements for mandatory warning statements on small packages
Because of their small size, small packages are permitted to have warning statements written in a minimum type size of 1.5
mm. A small package is a package with a surface area of less than 100cm2.
Section IV: Food Additives Regulations
Unless expressly permitted in Standard 1.3.1, food additives must not be added to food.
A food additive may be used only where permitted by Standard 1.3.1 and only where it performs a technological function.
These functions are listed in Schedule 5 of the standard. The following criteria are guiding principles that FSANZ uses in
assessing whether a food additive is listed in Standard 1.3.1 and therefore is permitted for use in foods, i.e. that:
it poses no unacceptable risk to health when used in amounts up to the specified permitted limits;
there is a demonstrable need for the substance and it fulfills a technological function that benefits consumers; and
it is used in any food only up to the level that achieves the technological function, even if higher levels might pose no
threat to health.
Food additives should always be used in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Manufacturers are
responsible for justifying the use of additives, and the level of additive used. The Codex Alimentarius Commissions
Procedural Manual sets out the following relevant criteria for use in assessing compliance with GMP:
the quantity of additive added to food shall be limited to the lowest possible level necessary to accomplish its desired
the quantity of the additive that becomes a component of food as a result of its use in the manufacture, processing or
packaging of a food and which is not intended to accomplish any physical, or other technical effect in the food itself, is
reduced to the extent reasonably possible; and
the additive is prepared and handled in the same way as a food ingredient.
Specifications for food additives are listed in the schedules of Standard 1.3.1. Schedule 1 contains information on the
permitted uses of food additives by food type; Schedule 2 contains miscellaneous additives permitted to GMP in processed
foods specified in Schedule 1; Schedule 3 contains colors permitted to GMP in processed foods specified in Schedule 1;
Schedule 4 contains colors permitted to specified levels in processed foods specified in Schedule 1; and, Schedule 5
contains technological functions which may be performed by food additives.
For the purposes of ingredient labeling, food additives are treated the same as other ingredients in a food. Schedule 1 of
Standard 1.2.4 lists about twenty class names for additives based on their technical function. Schedule 2 of Standard 1.2.4
lists all permitted additives by their prescribed name and code number. An additive must be declared in the ingredient list
in its correct place by using its appropriate class name (from Schedule 1 of Standard 1.2.4), followed by the additive’s
specific name or code number (from Schedule 2 of Standard 1.2.4). One exception to this rule is that enzymes need only be
declared by the class name ‘enzyme’ and not by specifically declaring the name of the enzyme.
Where a food additive is capable of being classified in more than one class, the class name used must be the class name
that best reflects the function of the additive in the food. A food additive that cannot be classified in one of the classes
specified in Schedule 1 must be declared by using its prescribed name (from Schedule 2).
Special note should be taken for additives that are genetically modified. For more information on the declaration of
genetically modified ingredients see the information which appeared earlier in this report (see Labeling of Genetically
Modified Foods in Section II).
Section V: Pesticides and Other Contaminants
The Australian Pesticide & Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) – www.apvma.gov.au - is the Australian government
authority responsible for the assessment and registration of pesticides and veterinary medicines for use in Australia and for
their regulation up to and including the point of retail sale and for establishing Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in food for
those chemicals it registers. The APVMA administers the National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary
Chemicals (NRS) in partnership with the States and Territories and with the active involvement of other Australian
MRLs for food in Australia are regulated by FSANZ. For chemicals not currently registered for use in Australia by AVPMA,
FSANZ is able to set a MRL tolerance for food which is imported if a MRL has been established in the exporting country. For
example, if a chemical is being used in agricultural production in another country and there is an established MRL in that
country, FSANZ carry out their own research using information from the exporting country, CODEX & other sources to
establish a harmonized tolerance which is then listed in the Food Standards Code. All MRLs (those set by either APVMA or
FSANZ) must be adopted into the Food Standards Code before they apply. If a MRL is not listed in the Food Standards
Code, then the tolerance is zero.
Standard 1.4.2 lists the maximum permissible limits for agricultural and veterinary chemical residues present in food.
Schedule 1 lists all of the agricultural and veterinary chemical limits in particular foods. If a maximum residue limit for an
agricultural or veterinary chemical in a food is not listed in Schedule 1, there must be no detectable residues of that
agricultural or veterinary chemical in that food. Schedule 2 lists all extraneous agricultural chemical limits in particular
foods. If an extraneous residue limit for an agricultural chemical in a food is not listed in Schedule 2, there must be no
detectable residues of that agricultural chemical in that food. Schedule 3 groups certain agricultural or veterinary chemicals
according to their chemical groups. Commodity and commodity groups that are referred to in this Standard are listed in
Schedule 4. Schedule 4 also specifies the part of the commodity to which the maximum or extraneous residue limit refers.
Maximum residue limits are constantly being reviewed and updated. As noted above, Australia has its own system of
setting MRLs. It should also be noted that Australia does not automatically default to CODEX MRLs if a tolerance is not
listed in the Food Standards Code.
Section VI: Other Regulations and Requirements
Competition & Consumer Act (previously Trade Practices Act)
As mentioned throughout this report, the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 should be taken into account as it pertains to
false, misleading or deceptive conduct relating to labeling or advertising of food products. The Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission (ACCC - www.accc.gov.au) is the body which administers the Act. An overview of the Act can be
found at: http://www.consumerlaw.gov.au).
The ACCC produced a number of guides to assist those involved in the food industry to meet their obligations under the
Trade Practices Act which are still relevant under the new legislation (Competition & Consumer Act). These guides are:
Food Descriptors Guideline – provides a trade practices perspective on industry representations about food and beverage
products. The guideline is to assist food and beverage businesses in understanding the law as it generally applies to this
area, together with examples of the types of claims businesses can, and cannot, make about their products and the
context(s) in which such claims can be made.
Food Labeling Guide – is designed to help businesses in the food and beverage industry meet their obligations under the
Act, by ensuring that their product labeling, packaging and advertising is accurate and is not likely to mislead consumers.
Country of Origin Claims – this guide is to help the food and beverage industry understand the provisions of the Act that
relate to making country of origin representations. It contains information to help businesses and industry groups develop
strategies to improve compliance with the Act. Please note: this publication cannot be relied upon as stating ‘the law’ on
country of origin claims. Please also read the ‘important notice’ document on the above web page as it refers to changes
currently being made to these guidelines.
Labeling rules apply also to advertising of the product. Anything required or prohibited on a label must either appear or not
appear in any printed, oral or televised advertisement for that product.
It is an offence to label or to advertise food in a manner that is false or misleading in any particular, or deceptive. This is
spelled out in the State and Territory Food Acts and the Competition & Consumer Act of the Federal Government.
Foods Requiring Pre-Market Clearance
Novel Foods (Standard 1.5.1)
This Standard regulates the sale of novel food and novel food ingredients. This Standard prohibits the sale of these foods
unless they are listed in the Table to Clause 2 of the Standard, and comply with any special conditions of use in that Table.
The specific permission may impose conditions relating to matters such as the need for preparation or cooking instructions,
warning statements or other advice, or the need to meet specific requirements of composition or purity.
FSANZ will assess the safety for human consumption of each novel food prior to its inclusion in the Table. The safety
assessment will be performed in accordance with the Authority’s safety assessment guidelines.
Novel food includes novel foods used as ingredients in another food. Categories of novel foods may include, but are not
limited to: plants or animals and their components; plant or animal extracts; herbs, including extracts; dietary macro-
components; single chemical entities; micro-organisms, including probiotics; foods produced from new sources, or by a
process not previously applied to food.
Information regarding applying for approval for a novel food is available in Section 3.5.2 of the FSANZ Application
Genetically Modified Foods (Standard 1.5.2)
Division 1 of this Standard addresses health and safety requirements, regulating the sale of food produced using gene
technology, other than additives and processing aids. The Standard prohibits the sale and use of these foods unless they
are included in the Table to Clause 2 and comply with any special conditions in that Table.
The Authority will assess the safety for human consumption of each food produced using gene technology or such class of
food prior to its inclusion in the Table. The safety assessment will be performed according to the Authority’s approved
safety assessment criteria.
Additives and processing aids which are produced using gene technology are not regulated in Division 1 of this Standard.
Other Standards in the Code regulate additives and processing aids and require pre-market approval for these substances.
Division 2 of this Standard specifies labeling and other information requirements for foods, including food additives and
processing aids, produced using gene technology.
Information regarding applying for approval for food produced using gene technology is available in Section 3.5.1 of the
FSANZ Application Handbook.
Irradiated Food (Standard 1.5.3)
This Standard prohibits the irradiation of food, or ingredients or components of food, unless a specific permission is given.
The specific permission may impose conditions relating to matters such as dose, packaging materials, approved premises or
Even where this Standard permits irradiation, food should only be processed by irradiation where such processing fulfils a
technological need or is necessary for a purpose associated with food safety. Food should not be processed by irradiation
as a substituted procedure for good manufacturing practices.
The absorbed radiation dose applied for the purpose of irradiating food should be the minimum that is reasonably
commensurate with the technological and public health purposes to be achieved. It should also be in accordance with good
radiation processing practice.
Food to be processed by irradiation, and the packages and packing materials used or intended for use in connection with
food so processed, should be of suitable quality and in an acceptable hygienic condition appropriate for the purpose of
such processing. They should also be handled before and after irradiation according to good manufacturing practices,
taking into account, in each case, the particular requirements of the technology of the process.
The operation of irradiation facilities and control of the irradiation process should be undertaken in accordance with any
relevant State, and Territory, and New Zealand law governing radiation control. They should also be undertaken in
accordance with an appropriate Code of Practice such as the 1983 Codex Alimentarius General Standard for Irradiated
Foods and its associated Code of Practice for the Operation of Irradiation Facilities Used for the Treatment of Foods.
This Standard also sets out permitted sources of radiation, requires the keeping of certain records in relation to the
irradiation of food, and requires the labeling of food which has been irradiated.
Information regarding applying for approval for irradiated food is available in Section 3.5.3 of the FSANZ Application
Approval of Genetically Modified Foods
Information for those wishing to apply to FSANZ to introduce a new food produced using gene technology as provided for
in the ANZFSC is available on the Standards Development page of the FSANZ web site and/or the Applications Handbook.
Government-to-Government Certification Arrangements
Imported foods legislation permits AQIS to enter into arrangements with G