Australia is the first country in the world to undertake a complete review of food label law and policy. This independent Review Panel is charged with examining current policies, standards and laws relevant to food labelling; the policy drivers impacting on demands for food labelling; and the policies and mechanisms that are needed to ensure that government plays its optimum role. Particular areas of nutrition focus include health claims and front of pack labelling.
The genesis of the review was Australian governments’ commitment to regulatory reform to create a seamless national economy, reduce the regulatory burden, and maintain or increase the competitiveness of Australian businesses. This was to occur without compromising public health and safety.
Two rounds of public comment have been received. The first round included over 6000 general submissions from industry, community organisations, government agencies and individuals. In the second round, comment was sought on a range of questions posed in an Issues Paper prepared by the Review Panel. These submissions, together with published evidence from the literature and empirical research form the basis of the Review Panel’s recommendations to government.
This paper positions public health nutrition concerns within this comprehensive review of food label law and policy. Considerations include the role of the food label to effectively communicate with consumers and their ever increasing expectations, while juggling the national and international requirements of industry, Codex, WHO, food safety, developments in technology and challenges of environmental, water and fuel constraints.