Public Consultation: Labelling of sugars on packaged foods & drinks

Closed 21 Sep 2018

Opened 11 Jul 2018



This consultation has been prepared by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) at the request of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) to support consideration of regulatory and non-regulatory options for labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks for sale in Australia and New Zealand. 

The desired outcome of this work is that food labels provide adequate contextual information about sugars to enable consumers to make informed choices in support of the dietary guidelines. 

FRSC has identified six policy options (in addition to the status quo) that are proposed to achieve the desired outcome. These policy options are not necessarily mutually exclusive and more than one option could be adopted. The options are:

  1.  Status Quo
  2.  Education on how to read and interpret labelling information about sugars
  3. Changes to the statement of ingredients
  4. Added sugars quantified in the nutrition information panel (NIP)
  5. Advisory labels for foods high in added sugars
  6. Pictorial approaches to convey the amount or types of sugars in a serving of food
  7. Digital linking to off label web-based information about added sugars content.

Further information about these options is detailed in the Public Consultation Regulation Impact Statement which is available to download from the 'Related' section below.

Scope and terminology
The scope of this consultation is limited to information about sugars on labels of packaged foods and drinks. Food and drinks not required to be labelled (e.g. a slice of cake served at a restaurant, or a soft drink served in a glass at a restaurant) are out of scope.


It is also relevant to note that in this consultation, the following terminology:

  • ‘Food’ refers to foods and drinks,
  •  ‘Dietary Guidelines’ refers to both the Australian Dietary Guidelines and New Zealand Eating and Activity Guidelines, unless otherwise specified
  • ‘Added sugars’ refers to any sugars-based ingredients added to foods by manufacturers during processing or manufacturing, or by consumers and cooks during food preparation or at the time of consumption. In this paper, ‘added sugars’ may include what are referred to as ‘free sugars’ such as honey. The exact specifications about which particular types of sugars are considered to be ‘added sugars’ or otherwise are not considered in this paper, but would be considered as part of the implementation of any future policy options. These are technical details which do not impact the policy options being proposed or the analysis of the proposed options.


Why your views matter

New Zealand and Australia share a joint system for food labelling which is overseen by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum).  The Forum is responsible for developing domestic food regulation policy in the form of policy guidelines.

At the 24 November 2017 meeting, the Forum agreed that information about sugars provided on food labels does not provide adequate contextual information to enable consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines and agreed to further examine regulatory and non-regulatory options to address this issue.

Stakeholder submissions to this consultation will be used by FRSC to identify a preferred policy option to recommend to the Forum regarding potential changes to food and drink labels in relation to sugars.  

What happens next

Submission Instructions

Submissions closed at 11.59pm AEST on 19 September 2018. The Food Regulation Standing Committee reserves the right not to consider late submissions.

Preferred option and next steps

Depending on the volume and complexity of submissions received, it is expected that the Decision Regulation Impact Statement with a preferred policy option and implementation mechanism will be presented to the Forum in late 2018.

Depending on the Forum’s decision, industry or government (depending on the implementation mechanism) would then undertake to introduce the preferred policy option(s) (assuming that it is not to maintain the status quo).


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