New kilojoule laws: a killer headache for food retailers?


Posted By on 6/03/17 at 11:26 AM

The Food Amendment (Kilojoule Labelling Scheme and Other Matters) Act 2017 (‘Scheme’) became law in Victoria earlier this month, creating obligations on “chain food premises” and “chain supermarkets” to display kilojoule content statements on food labels and internal store displays.

Retailers will glad to hear they have until July 2018 to ensure compliance with the new Scheme but, given other substantial compliance changes coming into effect this year in the food & beverage space, affected traders are encouraged to seek advice as soon as possible.

The Scheme brings Victoria into line with similar laws in New South Wales, South Australia, the ACT, and Queensland. However, there are key differences between the various state/territory laws, and national or out-of-state policies should be reviewed for compliance before being implemented.

Chain stores: who’s on the hook?

Your business will need to comply with the Scheme if:

  • you sell at least one “standard food item”; AND
  • the business chain has 20 or more premises in Victoria, or 50 premises in Australia (with at least one in Victoria); AND
  • at least two of those premises sell the same standard food item.

A “chain” of businesses in this context include franchises, trade mark or brand licensees, and commonly owned or controlled businesses. For chain supermarkets, only stores with floor areas over 100m2 will need to comply.

Standard food items: what products are captured?

A “standard food item” means ready-to-eat food that is ‘standardised’ for size and content, but excludes:

  • nuts in the shell, raw fruit, vegetables normally washed/peeled/hulled by the consumer;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • food items of a kind available for no more than 60 days at no more than 5 Victorian premises;
  • food in packaging that has a nutrition information panel within the meaning of the FSANZ Food Standards Code; and
  • prescribed exempt food.

If a number of standard food items are displayed for sale as a combination (like a ‘meal deal’), then that combination is taken to be a single standard food item.

Display requirements: what do you have to do?

If your business is on the hook, you must:

  1. Display the following statement: “The average adult daily energy intake is 8,700 kJ”; and
  2. Display the “average energy content” of each standard food item.

There are also a number of specific requirements under the Scheme as to where and how the required information must be displayed.

Failure to comply with the Scheme is an offence and can result in penalties of up to around $15,500 for corporations.

Compliance: next steps

If you need help navigating this new compliance landscape, call Amelia Edwards on (03) 9663 9877 or email marketing.law@khq.com.au.

Amelia Edwards

Amelia Edwards Special Counsel

Since joining us in 2014, Amelia has developed broad commercial experience and interests working across the firm’s practice areas and on secondment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology)... Read More