Food labelling in NZ is horribly complicated. Unfortunately too many new operators just go into a store, find a comparable product, and copy all the mistakes someone else has already made. Others are unaware of the subtleties of the laws and base their entire business case around health claims that they don’t realise they are not allowed to make.
New Zealand food labelling laws are (almost) the same as Australia’s and largely align with the European Union. They can be found by searching for the Food Standards Code, but are quite hard to navigate through. It isn’t just one document that you can search through. There are 23 documents that apply to all foods, 36 that relate to specific foods or groups of food (e.g. milk), and 28 schedules which list information like all the additive codes e.g. 330 for citric acid.
In order to get into Foodstuffs you will need a Labelling Report completed by a labelling consultant, so it makes sense for that person to specify what you need in the first place. This report will check all the elements of the label and confirm that it is legally compliant.
If you have just started your business and are wanting to get into the supermarkets, it’s heartbreaking to hear that your packaging, that you’ve probably spent a lot on, has to be thrown away.
Food laws in NZ have been a little too relaxed in the past, but labelling compliance is a big feature of the Food Act 2014 and Food Regulations 2015 requirements. Checks are now in place during verification audits to ensure that labels are correct and processes are in place for them to remain correct.
Labelling work is quite quick and easy if the consultant is provided with the right information right from the start. This of course rarely happens and if the right information is not available it can all go horribly wrong, and it almost always delays a product’s market entry. If you are embarking on a food business, give us a call now so we can point you in the right direction and you will be able to get your labelling work done later on for a more affordable rate.