Packaging terms

You will find the following terms in the country of origin labelling online tool and you may come across them in your own reading about food labelling.

Packet or package refers to:

  • any container or wrapper in, or by which food for sale is wholly or partly encased, covered, enclosed, contained or packaged
  • if food is carried or sold or intended to be carried and sold in more than one package—includes each package.

Packet or package does not mean a:

  • bulk cargo container
  • pallet overwrap
  • crate and packages which do not obscure labels on the food
  • transportation vehicle
  • vending machine
  • hamper
  • container or wrapper (including a covered plate, cup, tray or other food container) in which food is served in a prison, hospital or medical institution.

Fresh fruit and vegetables in transparent packaging can include any unprocessed fruit, vegetables, nuts, spices, herbs, fungi, legumes and seeds. These can be whole or sliced and packed and displayed for sale in a package that does not obscure the nature or quality of the product.

A packaged food is ‘suitable for retail sale’ if it could be sold at retail without any further processing, packaging or labelling. Determining whether a food is suitable for retail sale should be considered objectively, based on fact.

If a food is suitable for retail sale, it must comply with the Information Standard (unless an exemption applies) even if it is being sold at wholesale. Food that is sold in large quantities or labelled ‘not for retail sale’ may still be considered suitable for retail sale, as will foods sold to restaurants or cafes that could be on-sold without any further processing, packaging or labelling.

Food products

Non-priority foods do not require the standard mark, but they often require a country of origin statement. Non-priority food products need to comply with either the Information Standard or the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The foods below are some of the non-priority foods.

You should still do your own assessment of your food product to determine if it is a priority or non-priority food. Our country of origin labelling tool may be able to help you with this assessment.

Non-priority foods

Alcoholic beverages includes any beverage with more than 0.5% by weight/volume of alcohol, however described.

Biscuits and snack foods includes:

  • chips, crackers, rice cakes, biscuits, cookies, crackers, pretzels, cones or wafers
  • ready to eat savoury snacks such as potato or other vegetable crisps, sticks or straws, bacon or pork crackling or prawn chips.

Biscuits and snack foods do not include:

  • cakes
  • muesli bars
  • processed nuts, including coated nuts and nut mixtures (example, mixed with dried fruit).

Confectionery includes:

  • chewing gum
  • cocoa and chocolate products
  • ice-cream, edible ices (including sherbet and sorbet), flavoured ice blocks and other frozen confectionery
  • popcorn
  • crystallised fruit, glacé fruit and edible cake decorations.

Confectionery does not include:

  • sugar, icing sugar or icing sugar mixes
  • jams, honey, marmalades or other spreads apart from cocoa or chocolate spreads.

Seasoning includes the following:

  • salt and salt substitutes, pepper, dried herbs and spices
  • blends of spices and other seasonings or flavourings in powder or paste forms
  • dry cures or rubs that are applied to external surfaces of meat or fish
  • meat tenderisers.

Seasoning does not include the following:

  • mustards
  • sauces, chutneys or relishes.

Soft drinks and sports drinks include:

  • water based carbonated and non-carbonated flavoured drinks
  • drinks sold as ‘sport’, ‘energy’ and ‘electrolyte’ drinks
  • carbonated fruit or vegetable drinks
  • powder, syrup, liquid and frozen concentrates for the preparation of carbonated or non-carbonated water-based non-alcoholic beverages by addition of water or carbonated water, such as fountain syrups, fruit syrups for soft drinks, and frozen or powdered concentrate for lemonade and iced tea.

Soft drinks and sports drinks do not include the following:

  • non-carbonated fruit or vegetable drinks
  • milk
  • cereal, nut or legume based drinks sold as milk substitutes.

Tea and coffee, whether in dry form or in a ready to drink form, means the following:

  • coffee and coffee substitutes, including instant coffee and decaffeinated coffee
  • tea and herbal infusions, including instant tea
  • other similar cereal and grain beverages, excluding cocoa.

Bottled water includes natural mineral water, non-carbonated water, mineral and source waters, soda water, and carbonated mineral water.

Other foods

Fish means a cold-blooded aquatic vertebrate or aquatic invertebrate including shellfish, but not including amphibians or reptiles.

According to section 5 of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, food includes:

  • any live, raw, prepared or partly prepared substance or thing that is or can be used for human consumption (may include live animals and plants)
  • chewing gum or an ingredient or additive in chewing gum, or any substance used in preparing chewing gum.

It does not matter whether the substance, thing or chewing gum is in a condition fit for human consumption.

According to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, food does not include the meaning of therapeutic goods as stated on the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

If you need further help in deciding whether your product is a food or a therapeutic good, please visit the Food Medicine Interface Guidance Tool.

Fruit and vegetables means any of fruit, vegetables, nuts, spices, herbs, fungi, legumes and seeds.

Fruit and vegetable juices and drinks means drinks consisting of one or more of the following:

  • fruit juice or vegetable juice, including liquid elements of a fruit or vegetable, such as coconut water
  • fruit or vegetable purée
  • concentrated fruit juice or vegetable juice
  • concentrated fruit or vegetable purée
  • comminuted fruit or vegetables
  • orange peel extract; and one or more of the following:
    • water
    • mineralised water
    • sugars
    • milk-like drinks made from cereals, nuts and legumes (including soy) that are sold as dairy analogue.

Honey means the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which honey bees collect, transform and combine with specific substances of their own, store and leave in the honey comb to ripen and mature.

Jam means a product prepared by processing one or more of the following:

  • fruit
  • concentrated fruit juice
  • fruit juice
  • water extracts of fruit; or such a product processed with sugars or honey (includes conserve).

Jam does not include marmalade.

Milk means:

  • the mammary secretion of milking animals, obtained from one or more milkings for consumption as liquid milk or for further processing, but excluding colostrums; or
  • such a product with phytosterols, phytostanols and their esters added.

Sugar includes the following:

  • white sugar
  • caster sugar
  • icing sugar
  • loaf sugar
  • coffee sugar
  • raw sugar.

Sugars include the following:

  • hexose monosaccharides and disaccharides, including dextrose, fructose, sucrose and lactose
  • starch hydrolysate
  • glucose syrups, maltodextrin and similar products
  • products derived at a sugar refinery, including brown sugar and molasses
  • icing sugar
  • invert sugar
  • fruit sugar syrup derived from any source, but does not include
    • malt or malt extracts
    • sorbitol, mannitol, glycerol, xylitol, polydextrose, isomalt, maltitol, maltitol syrup or lactitol.

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