The Lowdown on the Double Down Burger: Food Labelling Laws in Australia
by The FindLaw Team
Heard that a certain fast food restaurant has released a burger that has bacon and melted cheese in the middle of two pieces of fried chicken, constituting the bread bun? There might be even some of you who have even eaten the concoction! At 1939kj, the burger meets a quarter of the energy consumption of the average Australian adult. So, with that in mind: are there any labelling laws that food outlets need to comply with in displaying the kilojoule content of food? If you’re in New South Wales, than, yes.
In an Australian first, New South Wales has introduced laws that requires food outlets with 20 or more stores in the state, or 50 or more stores nationally to prominently display the kilojule content on the menu board, as well as the 8700kj daily energy intake for the average adult. The laws came into effect in NSW on 1 February, with a 12 month implementation period.
Nationally, food labelling laws are governed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which is a statutory body established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act. The FSANZ’s Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code regulates what ingredients, colouring, additives and processing aids that can be included in our food products. Yes, this burger does fall within the Code.
The number of Australians that eat out on a daily basis comes in at 4.5 million, so the new labelling laws in NSW will arm consumers with the information need to make better choices in their diets. More sobering is that in NSW alone, 52.5 percent of the adult population is considered overweight or obese, whilst 25 percent of children are overweight and obese.
As you bite down on your burger that has fried chicken as its patties, here is some food for thought: it’s not even the burger with the most kilojoules out there! Believe it or not there are approximately four other burger choices that consumers can purchase from popular fast food outlets that have more energy. So don’t feel too bad, it’s not the worst dietary choice you can make, and is only available for a limited time.