Page last updated December 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 (NIP).
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 5g per 100g 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 2019 request from food ministers, FSANZ has reviewed 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:
- Quantifying added sugars in the nutrition information panel (preferred by Ministers)
- Applying a pictorial about sugar to sugary beverages/sugar-sweetened beverages, and
- Changing the statement of ingredients to identify sugars-based ingredients.
FSANZ has examined the three options and considered technical matters associated with including added sugars in the NIP. Key stakeholders were consulted during the review.
Key review outcomes are:
- There may be complexities in setting requirements for including added sugars in the NIP, however no technical barriers were identified. FSANZ will prepare a proposal to consider amending the Code with regard to added sugars information in the NIP.
- Further work on applying a pictorial on sugar sweetened beverages is not recommended at this time, noting governments support 2025 industry uptake targets for the voluntary Health Star Rating System.
- Further work on the third option is not recommended as this option does not help consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines.
Read the Review of nutrition labelling for added sugars report.
Timelines for a proposal to consider amending the Code with regard to added sugars information in the NIP will be determined in early 2022. The proposal will include public consultation and consideration of costs and benefits in line with legislative requirements.
From 2017 to 2019, food 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. Following public consultation in 2018, the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) prepared a policy paper that identified which of seven policy options would best provide consumers with information to enable them to make an informed choice in relation to sugars. FRSC concluded the option of quantifying added sugars in the NIP would best enable consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines.
In response to the outcomes in the policy paper, in August 2019 ministers agreed to ask FSANZ to review nutrition labelling for added sugars.
Ministers noted that quantifying added sugars in the NIP 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.
- Read more about sugar