We develop policy, resources and initiatives to help Australians eat a nutritious and healthy diet.
Our National Preventive Health Strategy will help improve the health of Australians over the next 10 years, including through a healthier diet.
We have developed the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which help Australians make healthy food choices.
The national Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 aims to:
- protect public health and safety
- help Australians make informed choices about the food they eat
- prevent fraud and misleading conduct by food companies.
Each state and territory has its own legislation relating to food safety.
See other national legislation we administer.
Regulation and compliance
Food companies must adhere to the Food Standards Code when manufacturing, preparing, handling, storing and serving food and drinks.
All levels of government work together to protect people’s health and safety under the joint Australian and New Zealand food regulation system:
- Food ministers in Australia and New Zealand make food policy for both countries.
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand develops and sets food standards, which become part of state and territory legislation.
- State and territory governments enforce food laws in their jurisdiction.
- The Department of Agriculture enforces food and biosecurity laws for imported food.
Read more about our joint food regulation system with New Zealand to keep our food supply safe.
Initiatives and programs
We fund several initiatives and programs to help Australians make healthy food choices:
- The voluntary Health Star Rating system rates the nutritional value of packaged foods from half a star to 5 stars. This enables us to quickly compare similar foods – the more stars, the healthier the food.
- Through the Healthy Food Partnership, we work with the food industry and the public health sector to make healthier food choices easier and more accessible.
- The Healthy Food Partnership Reformulation Program aims to reduce the amount of sugar, sodium and saturated fat in processed and manufactured foods.
- Eat for Health contains the Australian Dietary Guidelines, tips and advice on eating healthy, and resources to help people make healthy food choices.
- Nutrient Reference Values recommends the level of nutrients we need to be healthy, based on scientific evidence.
We advertise any grants on GrantConnect when required.
National research gives us an insight into the eating habits of Australians and how they might affect health and wellbeing. This helps us develop food and nutrition policies and programs that are relevant and effective. National research includes the:
- National Health Survey – surveyed about 21,000 people about various aspects of their health, including their diet
- Australian Health Survey – the largest health survey ever done in Australia, which looked at the years 2011 to 2013
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey – surveyed one-third of all First Nations people about their health, including fruit and vegetable consumption
- Growing up in Australia – a longitudinal study of 10,000 Australian children
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis of nutrition across the life stages and poor diet among Australians.
- Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study – will look at dietary behaviours as part of the the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Study
- Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs – reports the amount of food people buy, using sales data from certain stores, including supermarkets, retail stores and speciality food stores.
Who we work with
To support healthy eating among all Australians, we work with:
- the New Zealand Government to develop food policy for both countries
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand, which develops and manages food standards, and manages food recalls
- the National Measurement Institute, which administers the laws for selling food by weights and measures
- the Department of Agriculture, which ensures that imported products meet our strict biosecurity requirements and food standards
- the state and territory governments, which enforce the food standards, in line with their food legislation
- the National Health and Medical Research Council, including through Eat for Health, which contains the Australian Dietary Guidelines
- the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which collects statistics about Australians’ diet
- the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which researches the eating habits of Australians.
Read more about food standards and safety.
We provide Australians with many resources to help them make healthy food choices, including:
- the Australian Dietary Guidelines – recommend the types and amounts of food everyone should eat each day to be healthy
- Get Up & Grow resources – to enable parents and early childhood workers to help the kids in their care eat healthily and be active
- National Healthy School Canteens resources – to help schools make healthier food and drink choices for their canteens.
National interim guide to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink promotion – to outline the food and drink categories that are not recommended for promotion to children