Health claims, alcohol, GM, and irradiated food

Guidance to help you meet the different requirements for these foods and understand what must be declared on a label.

Find information here to help you comply with labelling and composition requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).

Making nutrition and health claims about food

Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, health and related claims regulates the use of nutrition content claims and health claims on food labels and in advertisements for food.

Nutrition content claims provide information about nutrients or biologically active substance in foods. 

Health claims must be based on food-health relationships that have been substantiated following the requirements of the standard.  Food businesses wanting to make a general level health claim can:

  • base their claims on one of the pre-approved food-health relationships in Schedule 4 of the standard, or
  • self-substantiate a food-health relationship following a process of systematic review described in Schedule 6 of the standard. This option is only possible for general level health claims, not high level health claims.

The standard defines requirements, including compositional requirements, which must be met before a nutrition or health claim can be made. Food businesses also need to be aware of co-requriements with Standard 1.2.8 when they make these claims. 

Labelling alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages and food containing alcohol must meet most of the same labelling requirements as other food. They also require a declaration of alcohol by volume and standard drink labelling.

However they don't require:

  • an ingredient list
  • a Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)
  • percentage labelling for characterising ingredients.

You can find more about labelling alcoholic beverages in Standard 1.2.7 of the Code.

Labelling Genetically Modified (GM) foods

If the food you sell contains any GM foods or ingredients, you must label the food or ingredient as genetically modified if it contains novel DNA or novel protein.

Labelling as genetically modified is also required for certain foods with altered characteristics as a result of genetic modification, such as soybeans with high oleic acid content. These foods are listed in Schedule 26—3(2) of the Code. 

Exemptions from GM labelling

You do not need to declare ingredients that contain GM material if the product:

  • unintentionally contains less than 1% of GM material
  • flavouring makes up less than 0.1% of the food.

Food businesses are required to take all reasonable steps to avoid including undeclared GM ingredients.

GM foods in restaurants

Foods served in a restaurant, café or from a takeaway are exempt from these labelling requirements. However, your staff must be able to tell customers, if they ask, about the GM ingredients you are using.

You can find more about labelling food produced using gene technology in Standard 1.5.2 and Schedule 26 of the Code.

Labelling of irradiated food

Food treated with ionising radiation to kill unwanted pests and micro-organisms is known as irradiated food. If food you sell has been irradiated, this information must be included on the label. If your food does not require a label, the information must be displayed on or close to the food.

You can find more about the requirements for labelling irradiated food in the MPI document:

The regulatory requirements can be found in Standard 1.5.3 of the Code. 

General information about irradiated food is available in the MPI fact sheet:

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