Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Williams, P, Yeatman, H, Zarkrzewski, S, Aboozaid, B, Henshaw, S, Ingram, K, Rankine, A, Walcott, A & Ghani, F, Nutrition and related claims used on packaged Australian foods - implications for regulation, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003, 12(2), 138-150. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com. Copyright 2003 Blackwell Publishing.


The aim of this study was to describe the use of nutrition and related claims on packaged food for sale in Australia and measure the compliance of such claims with regulations governing their use. A survey was conducted of the labelling of 6662 products in 40 different food categories on sale in New South Wales in 2001. Levels of compliance were assessed by comparing the claims on the label and data in the nutrition information panel with requirements of the Foods Standards Code and the Code of Practice on Nutrient Claims. Half of the products (51.3%) carried some type of nutrition related claim and 36.2% made at least one nutrient claim, with an average of 1.2 nutrition related claims on every food product. The foods with the highest use of nutrient claims were sports drinks, breakfast cereals, meat substitutes, pretzels and rice cakes, muesli bars and yoghurt. The most common nutrient claims were for fat, cholesterol, vitamins, minerals, and sugar. More than 20% of products carried claims related to additives. Many nutrient claims (12.9%) did not comply with current regulations, especially those in the voluntary Code of Practice. Adoption of mandatory requirements for all claims within the Food Standards Code may improve the levels of compliance. Implications for the regulation of nutrition and related claims are discussed. The impact of nutrition claims on consumer purchasing and consumption behaviour deserves further study.