Labelling infant formula

These are the rules for labelling infant formula and follow-on formula sold in New Zealand.

What is infant formula?

Infant formula is a product that:

  • is represented as a breast milk substitute for infants, and
  • gives infants under the age of 4 to 6 months all the nutrition they need.

It may be based on milk or another food of animal or plant origin. It includes pre-term formula and soya-based infant formula.

Follow-on formula means a product like infant formula, but part of a broader diet, suitable only for infants aged 6 months or older.

Naming and describing infant formula

If you want to call your product 'infant formula' or 'follow-on formula', it must have the composition given in the Food Standards Code.

Standard 2.9.1 Infant formula products – Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code

Protein source

If you use one of these names, you must also give the protein source next to the product's name. For example, 'Infant formula – cow's milk'.

Warning statements

Infant formula labels must give these warning statements:

  • in their exact wording, and
  • in writing of at least 3mm in height, or if the product weighs 500g or less, in writing at least 1.5mm in height.

All infant formula

A heading that says ‘Important notice’ (or similar words). Under the heading, it should say ‘Breast milk is best for babies. Before you decide to use this product, consult your doctor or health worker for advice’.

You do not have to include this statement if your infant formula products are for infants with metabolic, immunological, renal, hepatic, or absorptive conditions.

Powdered infant formula

‘Warning – follow instructions exactly. Prepare bottles and teats as directed. Do not change proportions of powder except on medical advice. Incorrect preparation can make your baby very ill.’

Concentrated infant formula

‘Warning – follow instructions exactly. Prepare bottles and teats as directed. Do not change proportions of concentrate except on medical advice. Incorrect preparation can make your baby very ill.’

Ready-to-drink infant formula

‘Warning – follow instructions exactly. Prepare bottles and teats as directed. Do not dilute or add anything to this ‘ready to drink’ formula except on medical advice. Incorrect preparation can make your baby very ill.’

Age suitability statements

You can choose your own wording for age suitability statements on your label.

Infant formula must say it may be used from birth.

Follow-on formula must say it should not be used for infants aged under 6 months.

Infant formula and follow-on formula (but not pre-term formula) must say it is recommended infants be offered foods as well as infant formula from age 6 months.

Dental fluorosis statement

You must say the formula may cause dental fluorosis and recommend discussing the risk with a medical practitioner or health professional if the formula is:

  • powdered or concentrated, and contains more than 17μg of fluoride per 100kJ before being reconstituted, or
  • ready-to-drink and contains more than 0.15mg of fluoride/100mL.

Directions for use

Infant formula must give directions in words and pictures that show:

  • each bottle should be individually prepared
  • the formula must only be mixed with previously boiled, safe-to-drink water
  • if the package contains a scoop, use only that scoop
  • if a bottle of prepared formula is stored, it must be refrigerated and used within 24 hours
  • formula left in the bottle after a feed must be thrown away.

Storage instructions

Storage instructions must say how to store the product after the package is opened.

Nutrition information

Nutrition information on infant formula must give the average amount of, when reconstituted as directed:

  • energy content in kJ (kilojoules) per 100 mL
  • protein, fat and carbohydrate in g (grams) per 100 mL
  • each vitamin or mineral and any allowed nutritive substance (including naturally-occurring) in weight per 100 mL 
  • if added, in weight/100 mL:
    • inulin-type fructans, or
    • galacto-oligosaccharides, or
    • combined inulin-type fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides.

Powdered or concentrated infant formula must say how much powder or concentrate will reconstitute the formula.

Powdered infant formula must give the weight of one scoop.

Not allowed on infant formula labels

Your label must not include:

  • a picture of an infant
  • a picture that idealises using infant formula
  • the word ‘humanised’ or ‘maternalised’ or any words that have the same or similar effect
  • words claiming the formula is suitable for all infants
  • information about the nutritional content of human milk.

More on labelling infant formula

This page gives the rules that apply to many infant formulas. There are also other rules, exceptions and details that apply to special types of infant formula, such as those designed for infants:

  • who are premature or have a low birth weight
  • with some illnesses and conditions
  • needing a special diet.

Food businesses are responsible for reading the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Code and making sure they meet all requirements for labelling and ingredients.

Standard 2.9.1 Infant formula products – Food Standards Australia New Zealand Code

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