Food safety minister Kate Wilkinson has welcomed new trans-Tasman rules for health and nutrition claims on food labels.
At a meeting in Brisbane today, ministers from Australia and New Zealand agreed to the new rules, which permit a range of claims that link properties of foods to health effects.
Only claims that are backed up by evidence, whether self-substantiated or pre-approved, will be permitted.
"Once introduced early next year, these rules will provide a supportive environment for the development of innovative foods for health," says Wilkinson. "They will also give consumers confidence that the health claims they see on foods are underpinned by robust evidence."
Front-of-pack labelling was also on the agenda of the trans-Tasman Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation. Last December, the forum decided on a collaborative process to develop approaches to voluntary front-of-pack labelling.
"To take this decision forward in New Zealand, I appointed an advisory group to develop an approach to voluntary front of pack labelling," Ms Wilkinson says.
"The advisory group has finished its work and provided me with its final report. The report identifies a set of principles that will provide a useful guide to food businesses that want to adopt front-of-pack labelling."
Wilkinson says stakeholders in New Zealand will be watching developments to voluntary front-of-pack labelling in Australia with interest.
The final report of the New Zealand Front-of-Pack Labelling Advisory Group is sets out principles to underpin the development of any interpretive front-of-pack labelling system in New Zealand.
At its meeting, the forum also sought further advice on an application to permit the wider use of hemp seeds in foods.
The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation is the
committee of ministers from all Australian states and territories,
the Australian Commonwealth Government and New Zealand that
oversees the joint Food Standards Australia New Zealand