There are requirements in the Food Standards Code for food labels to include the total amount of sugars in the nutrition information panel on food labels.
Total sugars includes sugar that is naturally occurring as well as sugar that have been added as an ingredient to foods.
The Code also contains requirements for foods that make claims about sugar e.g. 'low sugar'. For example, foods that claim to be 'low sugar' must not contain more than 2.5 g of sugar per 100 mL of liquid food or 5 g per 100 g of solid food.
There are also criteria in the Code for 'reduced sugar', 'x% sugar free', 'no added sugar' and 'unsweetened' claims.
Review of sugar labelling
Since 2017 the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has been looking at sugar labelling and how to give Australian and New Zealand consumers better information about added sugar in food to help them make informed choices that support the dietary guidelines.
In August 2019, ministers responsible for food regulation asked FSANZ to review labelling for added sugars. The request was in response to a policy paper on the labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks which found that information about added sugars on food labels is limited and/or unclear, which limits the consumers' ability to make to make food choices consistent with dietary guidance.
Ministers agreed that a pictorial approach applied to sugary beverages/sugar-sweetened beverages should be looked at, along with other options, pending the response to the Health Star Rating five-year review.
We are currently considering the Forum's request and will include this on our Work Plan in due course.
More information about this request and the policy work undertaken on sugar labelling can be found on the food regulation website (see also minsters communiqué).