Food Irradiation Labelling

Page last updated: 07 December 2016

The Food Standards Code (the Code) states that when a food or food ingredient has been irradiated, it must be labelled with a statement to the effect that it has been treated with ionising radiation. This requirement applies to packaged and unpackaged irradiated foods, when for sale to consumers.

In 2009, Food Regulation Ministers agreed to a comprehensive independent review of food labelling law and policy. An expert panel, chaired by
Dr Neal Blewett AC, undertook the review and the panel’s final report, Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (2011) (Labelling Logic) was publicly released in 2011. Recommendation 34 of Labelling Logic states: That the requirement for mandatory labelling of irradiated food be reviewed.

In their 2011 response to the recommendations of Labelling Logic, and specifically in relation to Recommendation 34, Food Regulation Ministers did not ask for the Code to be changed. Ministers, instead, asked Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review the need for the mandatory labelling requirement for all irradiated food to continue, and assess whether there is a more effective approach to communicate the safety and benefits of irradiation to consumers.

FSANZ has analysed the issues associated with Recommendation 34, and sought information on stakeholder understanding and views on food irradiation labelling, as well as on associated economic and technical issues. Public comment on a consultation paper closed on 29 March 2016 with nearly 400 submissions received.

FSANZ has prepared a final report and expects this to be considered by Ministers in April 2017.

Further information is available on the FSANZ website.

Reviewed: 04/04/2017