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Kate Wilkinson

7 December, 2012

Decision paves the way for innovative foods for health

Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson has welcomed new trans-Tasman rules for health and nutrition claims on food labels.

At a meeting in Brisbane today, Ministers from Australia and New Zealand agreed to the new rules which permit a range of claims that link properties of foods to health effects. Only claims that are backed up by evidence, whether self-substantiated or pre-approved, will be permitted.

“Once introduced early next year, these rules will provide a supportive environment for the development of innovative foods for health. They will also give consumers confidence that the health claims they see on foods are underpinned by robust evidence,” Ms Wilkinson says.

Front of pack labelling was also on the agenda of the trans-Tasman Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation. In December last year the Forum decided to initiate a collaborative process to develop approaches to voluntary front of pack labelling.

“To take this decision forward in New Zealand, I appointed an Advisory Group to develop an approach to voluntary front of pack labelling,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“The Advisory Group has finished its work and provided me with its Final Report. The Report identifies a set of principles that will provide a useful guide to food businesses that want to adopt front of pack labelling.”

Ms Wilkinson says stakeholders in New Zealand will be watching with interest developments in Australia to voluntary front of pack labelling.

The Final Report of the New Zealand Front of Pack Labelling Advisory Group is available at: www.mpi.govt.nz/food/foodsmart/front-of-pack-labelling

This report sets out principles to underpin the development of any interpretive front of pack labelling system in New Zealand.

At its meeting the Forum also sought further advice on an application to permit the wider use of hemp seeds in foods.

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation is the committee of Ministers from all Australian States and Territories, the Australian Commonwealth Government and New Zealand, that oversees the joint Food Standards Australia New Zealand system.

  • Kate Wilkinson
  • Food Safety