Meeting requirements for labelling and composition

Labels on food sold in New Zealand must meet legal requirements. Find out about the requirements, and the information that needs to appear on a label.


Labelling information is important to consumers

Labelling and composition information helps consumers to:

  • decide what to buy
  • meet dietary needs
  • in some cases, prevent adverse or life-threatening reactions to foods.

Complying with legislation

Most food for sale in New Zealand must be labelled. You need to be familiar with requirements set out in the following legislation.

Food Act 2014 

Under the Food Act, you must sell food that is safe and suitable.

There are also requirements in the Food (Safety) Regulations 2002 and the New Zealand Food Standards 2002 made under the Food Act that you must meet.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

If you sell food in New Zealand, you must also meet labelling and composition requirements under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). MPI implements the Code and its requirements, which explains in detail what needs to be on a food label.

You can find the Code on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website:

Sector-specific requirements

There are specific labelling requirements for different types of food. Refer to your food sector to find more information about these:

Export requirements

If you are exporting food, you may need to meet requirements of the destination country. Find out more:

What must be on a food label

When you are preparing information for your labels, it must:

  • be legible
  • tell the truth.

Most labels carry the following information:

  • date marking
  • name or description of the food
  • name and address of the business
  • warning and advisory statements
  • ingredients list
  • percentage labelling
  • nutrition information panel
  • use and storage directions.

The different pieces of information on a label are described in guidelines prepared by MPI.

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