IFN 01-21 – Changes to mandatory allergen labelling

Date of effect: 30 March 2021

Supersedes: IFN 08-17- Mandatory allergen labelling.

Attention

  • Food importers.

Purpose

To advise food importers of regulatory changes to mandatory allergen declarations on food labels.

Key points

  • On 25 February 2021 the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was amended to introduce new mandatory allergen warning statement requirements.
  • The new requirements include that allergen information must be declared:
    • in a specific format and location on food labels, and
    • using simple, plain English terms in bold font.
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has developed a five-year implementation plan to support the new requirements:
    • From 25 February 2021, businesses will have a three-year transitional period to comply with the new requirements. During this period, importers can comply with the existing declarations or new requirements.
    • At the end of the transition period, a two-year stock in trade period will allow a food packaged and labelled before the end of the transition period to continue to be sold for up to 2 years.

Instructions

  1. Familiarise yourself with the new allergen labelling requirements and the implementation dates.
  2. During the transition period, ensure food imported declares all allergens present either in compliance with the previous requirements or the new requirements. Verify compliance by asking suppliers for ingredient information, product specification sheets and sample labels.
  3. Have a plan in place to ensure your food labelling complies with the new requirements by the implementation dates.
  4. Find out more information about the new allergen labelling requirements from Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Information about allergen labelling is also available from the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Allergen Bureau.

Background

Undeclared allergens in food present a significant risk to human health for people with food allergies. The new allergen declaration labelling requirements make it clearer for consumers to identify allergens in food.

Food Standards Code 1.2.3 specifies the mandatory warning statements, advisory statements and declarations required for certain foods and ingredients, including components of food additives or processing aids, identified as causing allergic reactions. Foods that require mandatory allergen declarations are listed in Schedule 9 of the Code.

Subscribe for updates

Stay updated on changes to the requirements for imported food. Subscribe to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme imported food notices.

Last reviewed: 30 March 2021
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