The New Zealand Government has announced new food labelling regulations, which aim to give more information to shoppers about the choices they make.
A new standard has been signed by the Minister for Food Safety Nikki Kaye, which would give legal effect to food regulation, covering more than 200 food health claims that are pre-approved.
The claims range from ‘low in fat’ to specific claims such as ‘diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over.’
The standards are set to take effect in New Zealand from 9 May 2013.
Nikki Kaye said this is a victory for both consumers and food businesses, and helps NZ food to be first off the shelf at home and abroad.
"Consumers will be able to maintain a healthier diet with better information about nutrition content and health claims on labelling and advertising," Kaye said.
Food companies are given a time frame of three years to change their labels if they are found to have made false claims.
The companies can make the changes without having to increase prices, and if they do not follow the rules they could be fined under legislation before Parliament.
The new standards will be put in place to ensure that health claims are accurate and later on the focus will be on how to present the information on the label.
The labelling regime will also help families who prefer to eat healthier food.
In order to help consumers identify good foods from bad, the government is also working on a star-rating system.
Image: According to Nikki Kaye the new standard helps NZ food to be first off the shelf at home and abroad. Photo: Crown Copyright