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Sugar labelling

(May 2020)

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 is sugar that is naturally present in the food as well as sugar that has been added as an ingredient.

The Code contains requirements for foods that make claims about sugar e.g. 'low 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 'reduced sugar', 'x% sugar free', 'no added sugar' and 'unsweetened' claims.

Review of added sugars labelling

Since 2017 the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) 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 and healthier choices.

In August 2019, the Forum asked FSANZ to review nutrition labelling for added sugars (see the Forum communiqué). 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 consumers' ability to make food choices consistent with dietary guidelines.

The Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC), on request by the Forum, is currently developing a Policy Guideline on food labelling to enable consumers to make informed healthy choices. This will provide policy guidance relevant to the added sugars labelling review.

Next steps

We are working on a review to look at whether and how the Food Standards Code should be amended to help consumers make more informed choices about added sugars in food.

The review will include an assessment of added sugars labelling options, international approaches and technical issues (e.g. how to define added sugars). Key stakeholders will be consulted during the review.

If the review finds there is a need to change the Code, a proposal will be prepared and included on FSANZ's work plan. Public consultation would be undertaken as part of a proposal.

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.

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