Food quantity labelling requirements and exemptions

Every package of food must be labelled with a statement of quantity. There are a few exemptions from this requirement, which are listed on this page.

Labelling requirements for prepackaged food

Prepackaged food, including drinks and chewing gum, which has been packed without the presence of the consumer, must be marked or labelled with a statement of net quantity by weight, volume or number using the unit of measurement that is most appropriate for the sale of the item concerned.

For example:

  • Breakfast cereal sold by weight (gram or kilogram)
  • Washing liquid sold by volume (milliliter or litre)
  • Cauliflower sold by number (per head)

See General quantity labelling requirements for detailed information on how to label goods.

Further to our requirements, prepackaged foods may require further information to be provided by the packer / importer, such as ingredients, nutritional information, best before / used by dates etc. These requirements are set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and enforced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

See the Labelling and composition page on the MPI website or the Labelling page on the FSANZ website for more information.

Labelling and composition — Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)(external link)

Labelling — Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)(external link)

Multipacks

Where two or more packages of food — each separately packed in its own package — are packed together in an outer container, and that container isn't intended to be removed before the food is offered for retail sale, this outer container must be marked/labelled with a statement of quantity.

The accepted ways to do this are either:

  1. The outer package can be marked with the total quantity of all the packages. For example, if the outer package contains 3 separately packed packages each NET WEIGHT 500 g:
    • each package must be marked '500 g', and
    • the outer package must be marked '1.5 kg'.
  2. The outer package can be marked with the number of packages contained in the outer package and the quantity of each of those packages. For example, if the entire package contains:
    • one '450 g' package of mince, one '500 g' package of sausages and one '380 g' package of rump steak, the outer package could be marked “Contents: 3 packs Mince 450 g, Sausages 500 g, Rump Steak 380 g”.
    • 4 cans of beans, each '400 g', the outer package could be marked “4 × 400 g”.

Exemptions from these requirements

The following types of food items are exempt from the requirement to mark a statement of quantity:

  • Packages of food not intended for retail sale.
  • Items of confectionery or chocolate that are:
    • less than 15 g or 15 ml, or
    • single novelty items, or
    • single Easter eggs.
  • Packages of food ordinarily sold by number, if:
    • there are not more than 8 single items, and
    • they're contained in a transparent wrapping, and
    • the contents can be clearly seen and counted by the prospective purchaser.
  • Raw fruit or raw vegetables that are packed:
    • immediately after they are picked, and
    • in a package intended for retail sale, and
    • in units no greater than 500 g.
  • Packaged sandwiches, filled rolls, hamburgers, takeaways and similar packaged food intended for immediate consumption.
  • Any package of food requested by the purchaser and the purchaser is present when the seller:
    • weighs, counts or measures the package, or
    • packages the food then weighs, counts or measures the package.
  • Food sold at a fund-raising event.