Labeling and Barcoding
Mandatory standard for ingredient labeling
Labels are a key feature of most products. They help to market the product, allow customers to tell it apart from the competition, and give important messages including ingredients, instructions and uses.
All suppliers – including manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers – must comply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) mandatory standard for ingredient labelling on cosmetics.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, the ACCC can also take action against misleading or deceptive claims on cosmetic product labels.
Under the mandatory standard, cosmetic products are substances or preparations intended for placement in contact with any external part of the body, including the mouth and teeth, for the purpose of:
- altering the odours of the body
- changing the appearance of the body
- cleansing the body
- maintaining the body in good condition
- perfuming the body
- protecting the body.
Products that make therapeutic claims—such as those presented as preventing, diagnosing, curing or alleviating a disease, ailment, defect or injury in people—are subject to the requirements of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Finally, the National Measurement Institute (NMI) administers regulations that stipulate labelling requirements relating to measurement marking and packer's identification.
The NMI provides useful Guides to the National Trade Measurement regulations including the Guide to the sale of pre-packaged goods (PDF 1 MB) and the Guide for market stallholders and roadside traders (PDF 1.7 MB).
- Product ingredient information should be available to consumers at the point of sale.
- The listing of product ingredients is required on the container or on the product itself, if not packed in a container.
- Where the container or the product is of a size, shape or nature that prevents ingredient labelling by any of the above methods, the mandatory information standard requires the display of information to allow consumers to be informed.
- The labelling of ingredients on cosmetics such as make-up, deodorant or moisturiser usually appears on the packaging or outer casing of the product for consumer knowledge.
- When listing ingredients, the ingredients need to appear in descending order calculated by either mass or volume.
- Alternatively, the mandatory standard allows for the listing of ingredients in the following way:
- ingredients (except colour additives) in concentrations of 1 per cent or more in descending order by volume or mass
- followed by ingredients (except for colour additives) in concentrations of less than 1 per cent in any order
- followed by colour additives in any order.
- The mandatory information standard does not require the listing of the quantity or percentage of each ingredient.
Ingredients labelling on cosmetics and toiletries: supplier guide
Click HERE for downloadable files
All businesses supplying goods to Australia—including online stores—must comply with mandatory standards and bans—see www.productsafety.gov.au for the full list of mandatory standards and bans. If you are an online supplier, the ACCC considers it good practice to show an ingredients list with the online listing so that consumers can view the product ingredients before the goods are checked out.
What you must include in your label
When you design a label, make sure it complies with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA), which says you can't give false, deceptive or misleading information to customers.
The Act also requires that labels are used to give information to consumers, such as:
- the mandatory consumer product information standards under the CCA
- industry specific regulations, such as the Food Standards Code
- labels required by customs for some imported products under the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act.
Pre-packaged goods labelling
Label designs for pre-packaged goods must also comply with the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009, which include requirements for:
- the position, size and format of measurement information
- for articles packed in Australia, the name and physical address of the packer/person/business. (PO Boxes and non physical addresses must be replaced by or accompanied by a physical address of the manuafacturing location or office addres). In the case of a home office the address of where the business is operating from must be listed.
For more information, read the Guide to the Sale of Pre-Packaged Goods on the National Measurement Institute website.