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Labelling for religious, environmental, animal welfare and other consumer value issues

​(December 2015)

Some food labels include information that relates to people’s personal values/ethics, such as:

  • religious reasons (e.g. ‘halal’, ‘kosher’)
  • environmental concerns (e.g. carbon footprint labelling, palm oil labelling in relation to rainforest destruction)
  • animal welfare concerns (e.g. ‘RSPCA approved’, ‘dolphin friendly’)
  • human rights issues (e.g. fair trade, child labour).
The Food Standards Code does not include requirements for this kind of labelling. This is because the standards in the Code are mainly aimed at protecting public health and safety (for example, a standard that requires mandatory declarations for food allergens).
 
Food suppliers can voluntarily provide this kind of information on the labels of their food products, as long as the information is not false, misleading or deceptive under consumer and fair trading laws.
 
If the information you want isn’t supplied on a label, you can contact the supplier directly. The Food Standards Code requires food to be labelled with the name and address of the supplier and many suppliers provide a free call telephone number on labels.
 
Alternately, you can ask food retailers for information.
 
The Australian and New Zealand governments have recently restated their support for the existing non-regulatory approach to this kind of labelling. Read the Overarching Strategic Statement for the Food Regulatory System for more information.

 

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