Food Law Seminar 2016
1 June 2016

Simpson Grierson's food law seminar on 25 May was a great success with positive feedback from the attendees regarding the quality, usefulness and scope of the speakers' presentations.

The presenters were Gwen Keel (Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson), Ciska de Rijk (Senior Regulatory Affairs Consultant, Simpson Grierson), Sally Johnston (Manager Food & Beverage, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)) and Niki Bezzant (Editor in chief, Healthy Food Guide).

The seminar covered current topical issues across the food, beverage, grocery and supplement industries:

· Gwen and Ciska spoke on managing food marketing risks and the positive promotion of products in compliance with the Food Code.

· Sally focused on the new Food Act and how MPI provides guidance to businesses to help with compliance.

· Niki offered invaluable insight on current marketing and health claims trends and how she believed they contributed to consumer confusion.

We have had a number of requests for presentation materials from people who could not attend the seminar as well as those who did attend. To ensure that you do not miss out, we have recorded the seminar session and are able to provide a link to the recording via our webinar services (this includes copies of the presentation materials). CPD hours are available for the recorded session upon completion of an online quiz.

Please email  if you are interested in receiving the link.

Review of the Advertising Standards Authority Children's Codes
25 February 2016

The Advertising Standards Authority is reviewing its Children's Codes. The review coincides with the Ministry of Health's childhood obesity plan, which aims to prevent and manage obesity in children and young people.

The ASA will review both the Code for Advertising to Children and the Children's Code for Advertising Food. In particular, the Children's Code for Advertising Food addresses concerns about serving size, nutritional claims, treat and snack foods, the promotion of inactive or unhealthy lifestyles and excess consumption.

While food advertising is a significant part of the review, the ASA will give equal attention to the general code which covers the marketing of any product or service to children. This code provides guidelines about safety, pester power, anti-social behaviour, sexual imagery, gaming and gambling.

The review panel has compiled a consultation booklet which contains the questions the panel will consider and the current codes. This booklet is available on the ASA website here. Further information regarding the government's childhood obesity plan can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 13 April 2016.

If you would like to discuss making a submission with one of our food law experts, please get in touch by using the contact details here.

You can submit directly via email to or by post to:

Codes Review Panel
ASA Secretariat
P O Box 10675

FSANZ proposals that could affect you and your business
17 September 2015

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has a number of applications and proposals in the works that could have substantial impact on food and beverage businesses. In this update we provide a brief summary of these applications and proposals.

1. A1104 - Voluntary Addition of Vitamins & Minerals to Nut- & Seed-based Beverages
FSANZ is calling for submissions on the draft food regulatory measure in relation to the application to permit the voluntary addition of vitamins and minerals to nut- and seed-based beverages that provides a milk alternative for allergic/intolerant consumers. In its assessment, FSANZ concluded that the fortification of nut- and seed-based beverages to the levels generally found in full-cream cow's milk would enable these beverages to contain the same levels of vitamins and minerals contained in other fortified plant-based milk substitutes, thereby promoting the protein and energy intakes of consumers of such beverages. Deadlines for submissions is 16 October 2015. (You can access more information on the application here).

2. A1101 - Commencement of Dietary Fibre Claim Provisions
FSANZ has accepted an application to delay the requirement to comply with the qualifying criteria for nutrition content claims about dietary fibre in new Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, Health and Related Claims under the revised Food Code that businesses must comply with from 18 January 2016. Transitional Standards 1.1A.8 (of the existing Food Code) and 1.2.12 (of the revised Food Code) have been approved and enables businesses to rely on either the transitional standards or Standard 1.2.7 in relation to nutrition content claims about dietary fibre from 18 January 2016 to 17 January 2017. The transitional Standards allow for the use of any descriptor for nutrition content claims about dietary fibre without the qualifying criteria in Standard 1.2.7.

3. A1103 - Citric & Lactic Acids as Food Additives in Beer & Related Products
An application to amend Standard 1.3.1 - Food Additives by permitting the addition of citric and lactic acids as food additives to beer and related products has been approved. Although permitted as additives to other alcoholic beverages, citric and lactic acids were not previously listed as additives for use in the food category 'beer or related products'. Used to reduce the pH for lower strength and flavoured beers, the addition of the substances can improve the flavour profile of such beers. In approving the application FSANZ considered that the use of the substances in beer was "technologically justified and presents no public health and safety issues".

4. P1035 - Gluten Claims about Foods containing Alcohol
FSANZ has approved a proposal allowing gluten claims in foods (including beverages) containing more than 1.15% AVB to continue being made when Standard 1.2.7 becomes mandatory in January 2016. In January, such claims will be prohibited and the proposal was prepared to enable consumers with coeliac disease to continue to have access to "gluten free" or "low gluten" information in relation to applicable foods. FSANZ has also approved the amendment of Standard 1.2.8 to provide an exemption from the requirement to label with a nutrition information panel (NIP) if a "gluten free" claim is made in relation to a beverage that is currently exempt from NIP requirements. This exemption applies to alcoholic beverages standardised in Standards 2.7.2 to 2.7.5 and beverages containing no less than 0.5% ABV that are currently exempt from NIP requirements under Clause 3 of Standard 1.2.8. The exemption will not apply for "low gluten" claims.

If you would like help with ensuring your product labelling and claims are compliant with the revised Food Code, please give us a call.

Advertisements – Effective or inappropriate?
11 June 2015

What were New Zealand's 10 most complained about advertisements in 2014?

Read about them and more in the Advertising Standard Authority's 2014 annual report here (.pdf).

Food Law Update
11 February 2015

2014 was a busy year in the food and beverage space. A number of key legal developments occurred across New Zealand and Australia both in terms of the introduction of new laws or voluntary regulation and important decisions.

We have summarised these key developments by industry in a Food Law Update that you can access here.

From food to alcohol to grocery (and more!) - what you need to know is all in this publication.

We trust you find this Update useful. Please let us know you feedback and if you have any questions or comments.

Are your headline statements misleading?
24 September 2014

The Court of Appeal has recently released its precedent setting Godfrey Hirst v Cavalier Bremworth decision. The decision makes it clear that a headline statement will be misleading for the purpose of the Fair Trading Act where advertisers make it difficult for consumers to find and understand important qualifying information.

Read the full article ...

Are your consumer contracts "fair"?
24 September 2014

Earlier this year we published a general "Consumer Law Reform - Looking ahead at 2014" news alert. It included a brief overview of the upcoming prohibition on unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts. This prohibition will be governed by the Fair Trading Act 1986 (FTA) and take effect on 17 March 2015. With this date fast approaching, it is time for businesses to start thinking about whether their standard form consumer contracts will be compliant.

A standard form consumer contract is essentially a predetermined non-negotiable contract prepared by a business in order to contract with its customers (ie "take it or leave it" contracts). The Commerce Commission (Commission) has recently released draft guidelines setting out how to determine if a standard form consumer contract term will be “unfair” for the purpose of the FTA. In particular, the guidelines:

- explain the unfair contract term provisions;
- explain how the Commission will assess whether a term is unfair, and the principles to be applied by the courts;
- outline the kinds of terms that may be unfair; and
- describe the Commission's approach to enforcing breaches of the unfair contract terms provisions.

For a court to be satisfied that a term in a standard form consumer contract is "unfair", the term:

- must cause a significant imbalance;
- must not be reasonably necessary to protect legitimate interests; and
- would cause detriment if applied.

A copy of the draft guidelines can be viewed here. The Commission expects the final guidelines to be released by the end of November this year.

Next steps

It is time for business to identify and review their standard form consumer contracts for any terms that may be “unfair”. As at 17 March 2015, enforcing or including such terms will be an offence under the FTA and could see you fined up to $600,000 for a body corporate, or $200,000 for an individual. If you have any questions about how the new provisions on unfair contract terms will impact your business or would like help reviewing any of your standard form consumer contracts, give us a call. We are always happy to help.

The new Food Act 2014
15 July 2014

In May this year, the new Food Act 2014 (Act) was passed into law after a long Parliamentary legislative process. The majority of the Act comes into force on 1 March 2016 (when the Food Act 1981 will be repealed). However, provisions relating to product recall and the ability to manage a food safety incident are in effect now.

So what are the key changes?

The purpose of the Act is to establish a flexible, cost-effective and risk-based food safety system of management. This is intended to be a move away from the "one-size-fits-all" approach under the old Act. We have summarised the key changes in this document:

Food Act 2014 - summary Click