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Aussies Accept NZ Amendment On Fats And Sugars

Health Minister Annette King has won unanimous support from Australian federal and state health ministers for an amendment to include mandatory labelling of saturated fats and sugars in the draft food standards code.

Mrs King said the ministers gave New Zealand their support at today's meeting in Sydney of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council.

"The ministers have adopted the comprehensive food standards code, including percentage labelling and the mandatory nutrition information panels, with saturated fats and sugars now added as well."

Mrs King said the food standards code would come into effect in two years.

"In the meantime we are setting up an inter-governmental (federal, state and New Zealand) taskforce to examine the impact of mandatory nutrition information panels (NIPs) on very small businesses.

"The taskforce will look at the threshold of when businesses might opt in or opt out of mandatory NIPs. We are talking of a very small range of products and small boutique businesses, such as small jam makers who might sell their products on site. The taskforce must report back by March next year on whether such businesses can opt in or opt out."

Mrs King said the taskforce would also look at the issue of retention of compositional standards on special foods, such as peanut butter, chocolate, icecreams, creams and yoghurts, jams and fruit juice drinks.

"It has been a harmonious meeting, and a very successful day for New Zealand and for consumers. I believe the food standards code will make sense to New Zealand manufacturers. Most of them already have NIPs on their products.

Ends

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