The New Food Safety Standards Law

The New Food Safety Standards Law
March 7, 2013

It took a decade to produce, but the governments of Australia and New Zealand have passed food safety standards laws that will regulate all food items produced and offered throughout the country, either in restaurants or in supermarkets.

The new laws don’t necessarily change anything about the content of food. Instead, they regulate what types of claims and information that producers can include on edible items.

How It Controls Food Claims

In order to keep manufacturers from making false claims that could mislead consumers, the law very specifically states all information included on the label has to be verifiable truth. For example, foods cannot be listed as sustainable or organic unless the manufacturer has been certified by the Food Safety Commission. Any false claims could result in prosecution or hefty fees and penalization.

Additionally, foods that are not NPSC compliant, Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion, cannot claim that they are healthy. This would include foods that are high in sugar, sodium, or saturated fat.

No Comparisons without Approval

In order to keep third-party food suppliers from making health claims on items they did not produce, this law requires that all relationships between items be approved by FSANZ. In other words, a distributor can’t claim that there is a healthy relationship between two food items they purchase from other manufacturers without prior approval. This is also designed to protect the consumer from misleading information on food labels.

Two Main Subjects

The new law covers two different types of claims that could be included on food labelling. These two are:

  • Health claims
  • Nutrition content claims

In the past, it was very easy for manufacturers or distributors to indicate their foods were, in some way, healthful or nutritious when they actually were not. Because so many consumers were being deceived and because more and more people are suffering from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, new laws had to be put in place.

The Australian government spent a number of years creating this new law. That way, it was designed to be very thorough and specific. Food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and supermarkets, can’t make false claims about any foods. To ensure all health and nutrient claims are the truth, they can’t legally be included on products without prior review and approval by FSANZ. This ensures if a label says the food is healthy, then it actually does have some type of health benefit.