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New food health labelling a win for consumers and exporters

Hon Nikki Kaye

Minister for Food Safety

7 April 2013

Media Statement       

New food health labelling a win for consumers and exporters

Consumers can now be confident that claims about health on New Zealand food labels are true and accurate, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said today.

“Today I signed the standard that will give legal effect to a new food regulation for making claims about the health properties of food on labels. This covers more than 200 pre-approved food health claims.

“This is a win for both consumers and food businesses. In my view this helps New Zealand food to be first off the shelf at home and abroad.

“Consumers will be able to maintain a healthier diet with better information about nutrition content and health claims on labelling and advertising.

“Families who want to eat healthier food will be more empowered by this new labelling regime.

“They can have confidence as food businesses will need to ensure they can back up their health claims with scientific evidence.

“That opens the way for companies to invest in innovative new food products with health benefits, for both the New Zealand and export markets.

“This fits with the Government’s aim of doubling exports by 2025. Food is a major export, accounting for just over 52 per cent (NZ$24.3 billion in 2012) of the total value of New Zealand exports.

“The standard applies in New Zealand and Australia, and covers claims on food labels ranging from ‘low in fat’ to more specific claims such as ‘diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over’.

“Health claims will only be permitted on certain foods and there will be strict requirements to ensure the claims are evidence-based.”

The New Zealand and Australian Ministers responsible for food regulation approved the new joint standard regulating nutrition and health claims on food standards in December 2012. The standard will take effect in New Zealand from 9 May 2013, now that it has been signed off by the Food Safety Minister.  Food companies have three years to fully comply. 

Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) undertook four rounds of public consultation in New Zealand and Australia before approving the new standard. Two further rounds of consultation were done at the request of Australian and New Zealand Ministers.

More information is available at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/nutritionhealthandrelatedclaims/

ENDS

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