In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of food labelling law and policy.
An independent expert Panel, chaired by former Australian Health Minister Dr Neal Blewett AC, was appointed to conduct the Review. Dr Blewett was joined on the Panel by food industry communications, marketing and corporate affairs professional Mr Nick Goddard, consumer behaviour expert Dr Simone Pettigrew, public health law academic Dr Chris Reynolds and food and nutrition policy academic Dr Heather Yeatman.
The terms of reference (see Appendix B) for the Review required the Panel to:
1. examine the policy drivers impacting on demands for food labelling;
2. consider what should be the role for government in the regulation of food labelling. What principles should guide decisions about government regulatory intervention?
3. consider what policies and mechanisms are needed to ensure that government plays its optimum role;
4. consider principles and approaches to achieve compliance with labelling requirements and appropriate and consistent enforcement;
5. evaluate current policies, standards and laws relevant to food labelling and existing work on health claims and front-of-pack labelling against terms of reference 1–4 above;
6. make recommendations to improve food labelling law and policy.
The scope of ‘food labelling’ included any information, representations and claims about food that are, or could be, regulated under the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) or consumer protection laws.
The Review included two rounds of public consultation in 2009 and 2010. Stakeholder views, together with other information gathered during the Review process, informed the development of the Review Panel’s recommendations.
On 28 January 2011 the Review Panel presented its final report, Labelling Logic., to the Hon Catherine King MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, as the Chair of the Ministerial Council. On 9 December 2011 the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation agreed on a response to the recommendations of Labelling Logic.
On 9 December 2011 the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation agreed its response to Labelling Logic, the final report of the independent Panel for the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy.
Attached below is the Government response and the progress report on its implementation.