Ingredient lists in food labels

Most food and drink sold in New Zealand must show an ingredient list on the label.

What must be on your list

In your ingredient list, you must:

  • give all ingredients ordered most to least used by weight
  • use common names, for example, 'salt' not 'sodium chloride'
  • be specific, for example, 'wheat' not 'cereals'
  • include all food additives, using the name given in Standard 1.2.4 of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code.
  • say which, if any, of your ingredients, are genetically modified (GM or GMO) or irradiated:

Standard 1.2.4 - Statement of ingredients - FSANZ Code  

No ingredient list needed

You don't need an ingredient list:

  • for most alcoholic drinks
  • when there are no ingredients other than those in the name of your food, for example, a bottle of 'olive oil' with 100% olive oil.
  • on packages with a surface area under 100 square cm.

Water as an ingredient

If you add water, you must include it in your ingredient list. Allow for water lost in processing, for example, as steam.

You don't need to list added water if it is:

  • less than 5% of the finished product
  • part of a broth, brine or syrup, or
  • used to reconstitute dried ingredients.

Compound ingredients

A compound ingredient is made up of 2 or more ingredients.

For example, if you make canned spaghetti in tomato sauce, spaghetti is a compound ingredient made of flour, egg and water.

You must give the ingredients that make up any compound ingredient unless it's less than 5% of the final food.

If the compound ingredient contains an allergen, you must list it, no matter how much is used.

Allergen declarations, warnings and advisory statements

More on ingredient lists

This page has the rules on ingredient lists that apply to many foods. There are exceptions and details for some food and drink. Food businesses must read and follow all the rules in the Food Safety Australia New Zealand code and guides.

Ingredient labelling User Guide - Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

Standard 1.2.4 - Statement of ingredients - Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code

What else must be on a label?

How to label food and drink – a checklist

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