Allergen declarations, warnings, and advisory statements in food labels

Food labels in New Zealand must tell consumers about the risks of some ingredients to some groups of people, such as pregnant women and people with food allergies. Find out what to put on your label if your food or drink contains certain ingredients.

 

Declaring allergens on your label

If your food or drink contains any of these ingredients or ingredients sourced from them, you must state this clearly on your label.

  • Added sulphites
  • soya beans (soybeans) or their products
  • shellfish
  • crustacea, such as crab, lobster
  • egg
  • fish
  • milk
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • tree nuts, including almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, but not coconut.
  • cereals containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt
  • lupin.

There are no set words for declaring allergens on your label. You can choose your own words, but you must state the exact allergen, for example, 'wheat dextrose' not just 'dextrose', 'lupin oil' not just 'vegetable oil'.

'Free from' and 'may contain traces' allergen statements

Some food labels say a product is 'free from' an allergen, or 'may contain traces' of an allergen, for example:

  • gluten free
  • nut free
  • egg free
  • dairy free
  • may contain traces of nuts
  • may contain traces of soy

If you want to include a statement like this on your food label, you must consider some things.

'Free from' and 'may contain traces of'

Warning statements required on some food labels

You must include a warning statement if your food or drink is:

  • infant formula or food
  • a formulated sports drink
  • royal jelly or contains royal jelly
  • kava or contains kava.

The statement must be in:

  • writing at least 3 mm in height or 1.5 mm in height on a small package (under 100 square cm).
  • the exact words given in the User Guide.

There are set rules for the wording of warning statements. For these, see pages 5 to 7 of the User Guide:

User Guide to Declarations, Warning and Advisory Statements – Food Standards Australia New Zealand  

Advisory statements required on some food labels

You need to put an advisory statement on your label if your food is or contains:

  • bee pollen and propolis
  • milk or milk substitutes made from cereal, nuts or seeds
  • unpasteurised egg products
  • quinine
  • guarana or caffeine
  • unpasteurised milk products
  • additives known to have a laxative effect, for example, lactitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, xylitol, mannitol, dorbitol, erythritol, isomalt and polydextrose
  • aspartame or aspartame-acesulphame salt
  • phytosterols, phytostanols or their esters.

There are no set words for advisory statements. You can choose your own words and the font size, so long as it's readable.

Advisory statements: what they must say – Food Standards Australia New Zealand   

More on declaring allergens, warning and advisory statements

If you are unsure whether your ingredient falls into any of these categories, and for the exact wording to use on your label:

User guide to Declarations, Warning and Advisory Statements, Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Standard 1.2.3 Warning statements, advisory statements and declarations, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code

What else must be on food and drink labels?

Checklist for labelling food and drink

Last reviewed:
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