Go to home page - New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
Page content. Site access keysMain Menu
| Advanced Search
Te Pou Oranga Kai O Aotearoa
 

What's on a Food Label?Alcoholic Beverages and Foods

Updated 23 January 2004 2004/4

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is responsible for the implementation of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Food Standards Code) which took full effect on 20 December 2002. Food sold in New Zealand must be labelled in accordance with the Food Standards Code. The NZFSA has designed a series of fact sheets as basic guides to understanding New Zealand's food labelling and compositional requirements for consumers and industry. The full legal requirements, including exemptions to the general rules and explanations, are set out in the Food Standards Code. For information and copies of New Zealand's food legislation, including a link to the Food Standards Code, visit our website at www.nzfsa.govt.nz.

Labelling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages and Foods

General information requirements (Standards 1.2.1 - 1.2.10)

  • Alcoholic beverages and foods containing alcohol must be clearly labelled in English with the following requirements:
    • The name of the beverage or food
    • Lot identification
    • The name and business address in New Zealand or Australia of the supplier
    • An ingredient list *
    • A date mark - if the beverage has a shelf life of less than two years
    • Directions for use and storage - if not having them will raise health and safety issues
    • A Nutrition Information Panel *
    • The percentage of characterising ingredients (’Percentage Labelling') *
    • Warning and advisory statements and/or declarations of certain substances with the potential to cause adverse reactions may be required
      * Beer, Fruit Wine, Wine, and Spirits (as defined below) do not require an ingredient list, Nutrition Information Panel, or Percentage Labelling but all other alcoholic beverages and foods must meet these requirements
  • For basic guidance on general food labelling requirements outlined above refer to the NZFSA fact sheet ’What's on a Food Label? General Food Labelling Requirements under the Food Standards Code'.

Specific Labelling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages and Foods (Standard 2.7.1)

Alcohol Content

  • Alcoholic beverages and food must include a statement of the alcohol content
    • Alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.15% alcohol by volume should express alcohol content in mL/100mL or X% ALCOHOL BY VOLUME
    • Alcoholic beverages containing between 0.5% and 1.15% alcohol by volume should be expressed as ’CONTAINS NOT MORE THAN X% ALCOHOL BY VOLUME'

Standard Drinks

  • Alcoholic beverages (and any alcoholic foods that may be capable of being consumed as a beverage) must include a statement of the approximate number of standard drinks in the container. Standard drink means the amount of beverage, which contains 10 grams of ethanol, measure at 20 degrees C
  • To calculate standard drinks the following formula should be used:
    Volume of container (litres) x % alcohol by volume (mL/100mL) x 0.789* = The number of standard drinks
    * The density of ethanol is 0.789 g/mL at 20C
    For example: A 750mL bottle of wine of 12.5% alcohol by volume: 0.75 x 12.5 x 0.789 = 7.39 standard drinks
  • Packages containing 10 or less standard drinks must be accurate to first decimal place.
  • Packages containing more than 10 standard drinks must be accurate to nearest whole number of standard drinks.
    • In the example above the 750mL bottle of wine would be labelled ’Contains approximately 7.4 standard drinks'.

Low/Non Alcoholic and Non-intoxicating Claims

  • Labels should not represent an alcoholic beverage that contains more than 1.15% alcohol by volume as a low alcohol beverage.
  • Any beverage that contains more than 0.5% alcohol by volume should not carry a label that includes the words ’non-intoxicating' or words of a similar meaning.
  • Any food containing alcohol should not be packaged in a way so as to suggest that it is a non-alcoholic confection or beverage.

Labelling requirements for bulk containers

  • The Food Standards Code requires bulk retail containers to be labelled.
  • Where a container/label is not visible to consumers (for example some "fill your own container" dispensing systems where only the outlet is seen) the NZFSA recommends that retailers supply consumers with the required information by:
    • displaying the information alongside the food/beverage outlet; or
    • providing stickers for the final package; or
    • providing it verbally upon request.

Specific Compositional and Labelling Requirements for Beer, Fruit Wine, Wine, and Spirits

Beer (Standard 2.7.2)

  • The Food Standards Code defines beer as "the product, characterised by the presence of hops or preparations of hops, prepared by the yeast fermentation of an aqueous extract of malted or unmalted cereals, or both".
  • A reference to beer includes a reference to ’ale', ’lager', ’pilsner', ’porter' and ’stout'
  • The following products can be added to beer during production:
    • Cereal products or other sources of carbohydrate
    • Sugars
    • Salt
    • Herbs and spices
    • Specified additives
    • Specified processing aids
  • Labelling of beer must be accurate to within 0.3% alcohol by volume (Standard 2.7.1)

Fruit Wine and Vegetable Wine (Standard 2.7.3)

The Food Standards Code defines:

  • Cider as "the fruit wine prepared from the juice or must of apples and no more than 25% of the juice or must of pears'.
  • Fruit wine and/or vegetable wine as "the product prepared from the complete or partial fermentation of fruit, vegetable, grains and/or cereals or preparations of those foods, other than that produced solely from grapes".
  • Fruit wine and/or wine product as "a food containing no less than 700mL/L of fruit wine and/or vegetable wine, which has been formulated, processed, modified or mixed with other foods such that it is not fruit wine and/or vegetable wine".
  • Mead as "the product prepared from the complete or partial fermentation of honey".
  • Perry as "the fruit wine prepared from the juice or must of pears and no more than 25% of the juice or must of apples".
  • Fruit wine, vegetable wine and mead may contain any or a combination of the following:
    • Fruit juice and fruit juice products
    • Vegetable juice and vegetable juice products
    • Sugars
    • Honey
    • Spices
    • Alcohol
    • Water
    • Specified additives
    • Specified processing aids

Wine and Wine Products (Standard 2.7.4)

The Food Standards Code defines:

  • Wine as "the product of the complete or partial fermentation of fresh grapes, or a mixture of that product and products derived solely from grapes".
  • Wine product as "a food containing at least 700mL/L of wine which has been formulated, processed, modified or mixed with other foods, so that the product is no longer considered to be wine".
  • The following products may be added to wine during production:
    • Grape juice and grape juice products
    • Sugars
    • Brandy or other spirit
    • Added water where the water is necessary to incorporate any permitted additive or processing aid
    • Specified additives
    • Specified processing aids
  • Labelling of wine must be accurate to within 1.5% of alcohol by volume (Standard 2.7.1).
  • Country of origin must be declared on wine or wine product for sale in New Zealand. If any other grape juice or spirit used in any wine product originates in a country that is different from the country of origin of the wine, that country must be named. (Standard 1.1A.3).

Spirits (Standard 2.7.5)

The Food Standards Code defines:

  • Spirit as "a potable alcoholic distillate, including whisky, brandy, rum, gin, vodka and tequila, which contains at least 37% alcohol by volume, produced by distillation of fermented liquor derived from food sources, so as to have the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributable to that particular spirit".
  • Brandy as "a spirit obtained from the distillation of wine, or fermented preparations of grapes or grape product".
  • Liqueur as "a spirit flavoured or mixed with other foods".
  • Spirit and brandy may contain:
    • Water
    • Sugars
    • Honey
    • Spices
    • Specified additives
    • Specified processing aids
  • During the production of brandy the following foods may be added:
    • Grape juice
    • Grape juice concentrates
    • Wine
    • Prune juice
    • Specified additives
    • Specified processing aids
  • Labelling of spirits must be accurate to within 0.5% of alcohol by volume (Standard 2.7.1).
  • A geographical indication must not be used in relation to a spirit unless the spirit has been produced in that country, locality or region. This applies even if the indication is accompanied by expression such as ’kind', ’type', ’style' or ’imitation' and so on.
  • A spirit lawfully exported under a geographical indication but bottled in Australia or New Zealand can be sold under that indication only if:
    • The concentration of alcohol by volume is at a level permitted under the laws that apply at that place; and
    • Any other distinctive quality or characteristic of the spirit is not altered in a manner that would mislead or deceive the public as to the nature of the product identified by the geographical indication.

For further information contact:

The Public Health Unit at your local District Health Board
New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA)
Hotline: 0800 NZFSA1 (0800 693 721)
www.nzfsa.govt.nz

Email: info@NZFSA.govt.nz
PO Box 2835
WELLINGTON

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
Advice Line: 0800 441 571
www.foodstandards.govt.nz

Email: advice@foodstandards.gov.au

Date of publication: 23 January 2004

NZFSA Fact Sheets on the Food Standards Code at the time of printing include:

  • What's on a Food label? General Food Labelling Requirements under the Food Standards Code
  • What's on a Food label? Date Marking and Storage Instructions
  • What's on a Food label? Allergen Labelling and Warning/Advisory Statements

PURPOSE of the INFORMATION, and DISCLAIMER

The information contained in this 'fact sheet' is provided for the purpose of giving a general understanding of the New Zealand food labelling compositional requirements to both consumers and industry personnel. It is not a professional commentary on the law nor is it provided as a basis of any decision making to be undertaken by the reader. It is general guidance only.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained is accurate, however general information by its very nature cannot cover every specific to the degree of accuracy expected in the provision in professional advice. In addition, the Code will be forever changing and it is not intended to amend this general guidance every time the Code is amended. Amendments to the guidance contained in this document will be restricted to major developments only. Reliance should be placed on the wording of the legislation itself. This is available at the NZFSA website at www.nzfsa.govt.nz or from any government bookshop.

The Crown, its employees and agents do not accept any responsibility or liability, whatsoever, for any error, omission, interpretation or opinion which may be present, however it occurred, nor for the consequences of any decision based on the information in this publication. The Crown, its employees and agents expressly disclaim all liability to any person in respect of anything, and the consequences of anything, done or omitted to be done in reliance, whether wholly or partly, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this publication.

All information on this website is subject to a disclaimer.
Contact for enquiries

New Zealand Food Safety Authority
68-86 Jervois Quay
PO Box 2835
Wellington
NEW ZEALAND

Phone: +64 4 894 2500
Fax: +64 4 894 2501

Contact this person



-->