New food health labelling a win for consumers and exporters

Issue 49 – May 2013

Consumers can now be confident that claims about health on New Zealand food labels will be true and accurate. On 7 April 2013, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye signed the standard that will give legal effect to a new food regulation for making claims about the health properties of food on labels. This covers more than 200 pre-approved food health claims.

The New Zealand and Australian Ministers responsible for food regulation approved the new joint standard regulating nutrition and health claims on food standards in December 2012. The standard will take effect in New Zealand from 9 May 2013, now that it has been signed off by the Food Safety Minister. Food companies have 3 years to fully comply.

The standard applies in New Zealand and Australia, and covers claims on food labels ranging from 'low in fat' to more specific claims such as 'diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over'. Health claims will only be permitted on certain foods and there will be strict requirements to ensure the claims are evidence-based.

'This is a win for both consumers and food businesses. In my view, this helps New Zealand food to be first off the shelf at home and abroad,' says Kaye. 'Consumers will be able to maintain a healthier diet with better information about nutrition content and health claims on labelling and advertising. Families who want to eat healthier food will be more empowered by this new labelling regime. They can have confidence as food businesses will need to ensure they can back up their health claims with scientific evidence.'

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Summarised from a New Zealand Government media release by Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye, 7 April 2013.


Published in consumer and occupational safety.