Nutritional Information Panels (NIPs) provide accurate information on the average nutrient content and help the consumer track what they are eating to find the most nutritionally beneficial food.
By comparing the nutrient profile of similar products the consumer can choose the food that suits their dietary and/or health requirements.
The seven mandatory nutrients listed on NIPs are:
- Energy (kilojoules)
- Total fat
- Saturated fat
- Total carbohydrates
- Sodium (a component of salt)
In addition, products which make any nutrition claims must have the associated nutrients listed on the NIP. For example, if a nutrition claim is made regarding dietary fibre such as ‘high in fibre’, then the NIP label must include dietary fibre.
All nutrients must be displayed in a standard format, on a per serving and per 100g basis (as per the graphic below).
NIPs are mandatory in Australia and are supported by legislation.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for the development and administration of the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code which includes food labelling and NIP requirements. Significant fines are imposed on food manufacturers who do not meet the guidelines regarding the size, position and layout of a NIP.
The importance of updating your NIP
As ingredients change from season to season and from supplier to supplier, it is very important to understand what effect this has on your NIP.
Recent findings from CHOICE regarding market leading sunscreens tell us that what is on a label is not always what is seems.
CHOICE discovered that a number of sunscreens were labelled SPF 50+, but they were considerably lower (some SPF 29).
Therefore the labelling was misleading and the consumer did not receive what they had paid for.
Similarly, the same can be applied to food and food related products.
Accurate NIP information is compulsory and severe penalties apply to food companies for incorrect or out of date NIP information.
Using a NATA accredited laboratory for NIP testing is highly recommended, simply calculating a NIP is not sufficient as the calculations use assumptions that may not apply to your product.
NIPs will require updating if the formulation changes or if there is a major change to processing techniques that cause nutritional variances.
Some customers require verification of NIP claims. Generally the verification requires full testing at a laboratory. Symbio Laboratories is an expert in knowing the requirements across various supplier codes.
Simply, an accurate NIP is important because:
- It is the law and heavily regulated
- The consumer expects to have access to information to make an informed buying decision
- It assists food manufacturers sell and advertise their products
- It aids in Research and Development
To guard against the changing quality of your ingredients, to satisfy the need of health conscious consumers and for the protection of your product/brand, food manufacturers are encouraged to contact Symbio Laboratories.
Symbio Laboratories are NATA accredited to ISO17025 and offer contents testing and a complete NIP testing profile to suit regulatory and customer requirements. In addition Symbio Laboratories have specialist industry experienced staff to assist manufacturers during the research and development process and to help develop food safety and food quality testing plans.
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