Reading Labels

Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)

Australian food regulations require all packaged foods to show a NIP table illustrating the content of the six macro nutrients within food or beverage. The six macro nutrients, that must be listed, are protein, carbohydrate, fats, sugars, dietary fibres and sodium / salt.  This mandatory requirement must provide information for both the recommended serving size and per a 100mL serving of that product in order to assist consumers.

You will also find the following information on food labels:

  • Product name
  • Brand name
  • Ingredient list
  • Nutrition information panel
  • Use by date
  • Manufacturer details
  • Product weight.

You might also find on your food labels:

  • Nutrition content claims or health claims
  • Allergen information
  • Other symbols e.g. Glycaemic Index (GI), Heart Foundation tick, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) free, Gluten Free (GF).

For more information on the NIP, click here.

Health Claims

Health claims are statements referring to a relationship between food and health, rather than a statement of content. All health claims are required to be supported by scientific evidence. Each proposed relationship between an ingredient and a claim must meet the same level of certainty, whether they are pre-approved by the Food Standards of Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), or they are self-substantiated by food businesses.

Products bearing a health claim must pass specific nutrient profile scoring criteria (NPSC) in addition to meeting the conditions for that nutrient in the product. For instance, the health claim “magnesium contributes to normal energy metabolism” is a pre-approved health claim but is only relevant for use in products containing at least 25% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium for the target population. For more information on health claims, click here.

Front of Pack Labelling – Health Star Rating Scheme

What is a Health Star Rating?

The Health Star Rating (HSR) is a front-of-pack labelling system which provides clear nutrition information on the front of packaged food and beverages to assist consumers to make informed food purchases and healthier eating choices. With assigned stars rating from ½ a star to 5 stars it provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.

Who developed the Health Star Rating?

The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. View the Acknowledgements page. It is being implemented from June 2014 on a voluntary basis by the food industry over the next five years, with a review of progress after two years.

How are the stars calculated?

A calculator, driven by an algorithm developed in consultation with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other technical and nutrition experts, determines the number of stars displayed on a product.

(The Health Star Rating Calculator)

It is the responsibility of manufacturers and retailers to use the Health Star Rating system accurately and correctly. This includes correctly calculating the Health Star Rating, accurately displaying nutrient information, ensuring consistency of information between the Health Star Rating and the Nutrition Information Panel, and complying with all relevant legislation and regulations.              

What does it looks like?

All Foods

The full HSR scheme graphic is to be applied to all processed foods, with the exception of confectionary and some beverages (see below).

Key Elements:

  • The stars – based on energy(kilojoules), risk nutrients (saturated fat, sodium and sugars), positive nutrients (dietary fibre, protein and the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content)
  • The energy declaration
  • The nutrient content declaration including three minimum (SAT FAT, SUGARS, SODIUM) and one optional

 

health star rating s+ energy sat fat sugars sodium nutrients per pack

The Health Star Rating system is designed to provide key information that allows consumers to make at-a-glance comparisons of products within the same category. Further nutrient information is also available in the Nutrition Information Panel on food packaging.

Beverages

As part of the Ministerial approval for the scheme, integrated approaches for confectionery and all beverages (excluding dairy-based beverages) was agreed to. One of the main reasons for this approach was that consumer research clearly showed that people understood drinks like soft drinks and snacks like chocolate are to be consumed occasionally, and for the majority of people, it’s the energy or kilojoules they want information on.

The energy declaration option replaces the current Daily Intake Guide thumbnail which the beverages industry voluntarily introduced in 2006.

HSR Energy Declaration Options (per pack or per serve)

DI per packOR  energy only per pack without DI