In August 2019 the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (known as the Food Ministers’ Meeting from 12 February 2021) agreed that the most effective way to achieve nationally consistent menu labelling would be to develop a food regulatory measure under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The first step was to develop a policy guideline to provide strategic guidance to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) about the Ministers’ expectations regarding menu labelling.
Policy guidelines aim to improve outcomes for all by making clear and unambiguous the policy principles that apply to jurisdictions and bodies making food regulations. The creation of a policy guideline does not trigger regulatory action by FSANZ or changes to current food labelling. However, when FSANZ is developing or reviewing food regulatory measures, a written policy guideline is one of a number of matters to which it must have regard (as outlined in the FSANZ Act 1991).
The Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) consulted Australian stakeholders in early 2018 about the problems with the existing menu labelling regulation, and again in late 2018 about possible solutions.
In 2021, FRSC sought stakeholder views to inform the development of policy guidance and an effective policy framework for consistent menu labelling across jurisdictions. Stakeholders were invited to respond to the Public Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) from 8 April 2021 to 3 June 2021 and submissions were made through the Australian Government Department of Health Consultation Hub. The consultation paper is available below:
In November 2022 Food Ministers approved the Decision RIS for Menu Labelling in Australia and New Zealand, the report on the economic evaluation and the Ministerial Policy Guideline – Menu Labelling: displaying and providing energy information for standard food items on menus and at the point-of-sale in standard food outlets.