Getting Your Claims Right

1. Introduction

Page last updated: 21 October 2014

This document, developed by the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR), provides advice on how to comply with the Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard (Standard 1.2.7) in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Food Standards Code).

ISFR is made up of representatives from government agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand that are responsible for monitoring the implementation of food laws and enforcing those laws. These agencies and departments work together through ISFR to ensure food laws are implemented and enforced consistently.

Food sold in Australia and New Zealand is required to comply with Parts 1 and 2 of the Food Standards Code.

All food businesses in Australia and New Zealand must comply with Standard 1.2.7 when making nutrition content claims and health claims on food labels, in advertisements and in endorsements on food from 18 January 2016.

Standard 1.2.7 applies to food labels and advertising materials for foods that are sold or prepared for sale in Australia or New Zealand and imported into Australia and New Zealand.

This document is not a legal document. The legal document is Standard 1.2.7 of the Food Standards Code. Food businesses using this document should also refer to Standard 1.2.7 and the associated explanatory information. Where guidance is offered in this document about a clause or schedule in Standard 1.2.7 or a paragraph, the number of the clause and paragraph or schedule is provided..

The diagram on page 4 can help you consider whether Standard 1.2.7 applies to any claims made. This is followed by explanatory text about general conditions and requirements for making claims.

A glossary of key terms (based on definitions in Standard 1.2.7) is on page 45.

You can find Standard 1.2.7 on the ComLaw website.

The explanatory statement, which provides detail about the purpose and intent of the Standard and its associated clauses, can be found on the ComLaw website.

For information about establishing food-health relationships by systematic review, refer to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) document ‘Guidance on establishing food-health relationships for general level health claims’ (as described in Schedule 6 of Standard 1.2.7).

Guidance on calculating scores for the nutrient profiling scoring criterion is also available on the FSANZ website.

This guidance document should be read in conjunction with associated checklists:

  • Checklist for Nutrition Content Claims
  • Checklist for General Level Health Claims (pre-approved)
  • Checklist for General Level Health Claims (systematic review)
  • Checklist for High Level Health Claims.

State and territory government departments and local government in Australia, the Department of Agriculture (for imported food) and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries are responsible for monitoring the implementation of food laws and enforcing those laws.

Standards are adopted by law into state and territory and New Zealand legislation. These food laws give regulators a range of tools they can use in responding to non-compliance. Generally, when a business supplies a product that does not meet the legal requirements, the regulator will look at what steps the business has taken to comply with the Standard when deciding on appropriate enforcement action.

Food businesses should contact the relevant food regulator in their state or territory or in New Zealand if further guidance is required about complying with Standard 1.2.7 or any other requirements of the Food Standards Code.

Full details of state and territory and New Zealand agencies responsible for administering and enforcing the Food Standards Code can be found on the FSANZ website.

Food businesses must not make false or misleading claims. It is a an offence for food businesses to engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive in relation to the advertising, packaging or labelling of food for sale or intended for sale.

Fair trading laws and food laws in Australia and New Zealand require that goods sold do not misinform through false, misleading or deceptive representations. In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and state and territory consumer authorities enforce Australian Consumer Law. In New Zealand, the Commerce Commission is responsible for enforcing the Fair Trading Act 1986.

More information is available from:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) (formerly Ministry of Consumer Affairs).