U.S. suppliers should be aware of Australia’s rules and procedures regulating the packaging, labeling, ingredients, marketing, and sale of specific products, and of general weights and measures.
In general, goods imported in the packages in which they are customarily sold or offered for sale need to be marked with a true description of the goods and the country in which the goods were made. The trade description needs to be applied to the packages in prominent and legible characters. Any additional information applied and/or labeled on the packages must be true and may not contradict or obscure the information required as part of the trade description.
The quantity of a commodity sold in a package must be truly stated on the main display panel of the package, in units of the metric system. The word “net” should always be used when expressing quantity in mass.
The joint Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code requires all packaged food to be labeled with nutritional information on how much fat, protein, energy, carbohydrates, and salt is in the product. Labels must also show the percentage of key ingredients and all the main ingredients that may cause allergies.
Detailed guidance on Australia’s food labeling requirements is available in the Food & Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report from the Office of Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy Canberra. This report is updated each year and a copy of the latest FAIRS report is available on the FAS website (search for FAIRS Country Report which can be found under the Exporter Assistance category). Information on the Food Standards Code (including a nutritional panel example and calculator) can also be viewed on the website of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
U.S. exporters should work with their Australian importer to ensure that their products comply with Australian Federal and State Government labeling regulations before shipping any product.
In July 2016 the Australian Government announced reforms to the mandatory Country of Origin labeling regulations which now require greater transparency on the percentage of Australian content. Guidance can be found in the FAIRS report mentioned above. Full details on labeling requirements can be found on the Department of the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website.