​​​​Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for submissions to comment on the proposed requirement for energy content information on the labels of alcoholic beverages.

Currently, most alcoholic drinks are not required to show this information in a nutrition information panel (NIP) unless a nutrition or health claim is made. However, Australian and New Zealand food ministers asked FSANZ to consider changing this, in a process which began in 2019.

Aimed at assisting consumers to make informed choices the same way they do with food, FSANZ is proposing to amend the Food Standards Code to require kilojoule content to be displayed on the label of alcoholic beverages in a mandatory NIP.

Dr Sandra Cuthbert, CEO of FSANZ, said the proposed change will allow people to make more informed choices about what they are actually consuming.

“Available evidence indicates the energy content of alcoholic beverages is not well understood by many consumers,” Dr Cuthbert said. 

“The proposed approach ensures greater coverage and consistency of energy labelling to support consumers to make informed choices.”

According to FSANZ, the proposed change would apply to “standardised alcoholic beverages e.g. beer, wine; and beverages containing no less than 0.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) that are not standardised alcoholic beverages.”

The current requirement for alcoholic beverages to have a NIP on the label if a nutrition content or health claim is made would remain in place.

The period for comment on this proposal closes at 6pm (Canberra time) on 27 February, 2022. It also proposes a three-year transition period if approved, and an exemption for beverages packaged and labelled before the end of this transition period.

More information about the proposed changes and instructions on how to make a submission are available at the FSANZ website.

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