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Sugar labelling

    Page last updated August 2021

    The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) includes requirements for food labels to include the total amount of sugars in the nutrition information panel.

    Total sugars includes sugar that is naturally present in the food and sugar that has been added as an ingredient.

    The Code contains requirements for foods that make claims about sugar.

    • For example, foods that claim to be 'low sugar' cannot 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 requirements for claims such as 'reduced sugar', 'x% sugar free', 'no added sugar' and 'unsweetened'.

    Review of added sugars labelling

    In response to a request from the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (now the Food Ministers' Meeting), FSANZ is reviewing nutrition labelling for added sugars.

    As agreed by Ministers, the desired outcome of the work is that food labels provide adequate contextual information about sugars to enable consumers to make informed choices in support of the dietary guidelines.

    Ministers requested FSANZ review three policy options for added sugars:

  1. Quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel (preferred by Ministers)
  2. Applying a pictorial about sugar to sugary beverages/sugar-sweetened beverages, and
  3. Changing the statement of ingredients to identify sugars-based ingredients.

    FSANZ has examined the three options and looked at whether there are technical impediments to implementing the Ministers' preferred option (quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel). Key stakeholders were consulted during the review.

    The FSANZ Board discussed a report on this work in June 2021. The Board agreed a proposal be prepared to consider amending the Code with regard to added sugars labelling information in the nutrition information panel.

    Next steps

    Subject to Ministers' agreement, we expect to make our report publicly available.

    Timelines for a proposal will be determined following the release of the report. The proposal will include public consultation and consideration of costs and benefits as per the usual statutory process.

    Background

    From 2017 to 2019, Ministers considered sugar labelling and how to give Australian and New Zealand consumers better information about added sugars in food to help them make informed and healthier food choices. In August 2019, Ministers agreed to ask FSANZ to review nutrition labelling for added sugars. The request was in response to a policy paper on the labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks prepared by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC). FRSC concluded the option of quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel would best enable consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines.

    Following consideration of the policy paper, Ministers noted that quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel best met the desired outcome.  Ministers agreed a pictorial approach applied to sugary beverages / sugar-sweetened beverages warranted further consideration, along with other options (specifically changing the statement of ingredients to identify sugars-based ingredients), pending the response to the Health Star Rating five-year review.

    More information:

  • More information about the Forum's request and the policy work undertaken on sugar labelling can be found on the food regulation website.
  • Read more about sugar

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