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Hi Ella,

Welcome to the forum :)

Congratulations on your new venture – you sound like you’ve managed to get a lot up and running already, so good on you.

Your first port of call for getting your head around all this info should probably be Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). I’d recommend you start by having a read through the User Guide to the Food Standards Code.

From there you’ll find links to an Overview of food labelling, Date marking, and Nutrition Information labelling.

For the nutritional panel it self, you may be able to get all the info you need using FSANZ’s nutrition panel calculator.

After you’ve had a read of the info on date marking, and depending on the nature of your ingredients and their processing, you’ll need to work out whether the shelf life is something you can calculate yourself or whether you need to send your products out for stability testing.

This aspect of food production is far from being my area of expertise, but I am very familiar with how things work in complementary medicines manufacturing, and in that industry, stability testing is taken very seriously, so I’ve had some exposure to the principles.

Getting tests done could be expensive, but it could be even more expensive if your products spoil more quickly than you expect and/or make someone sick. On the other hand, stability testing can sometimes throw up some nice surprises, revealing that your products are stable for longer than you think – and that has great implications for your business in terms of the frequency with which you need to service your accounts and how appealing the product is to a consumer, so it could be a good investment.

It might be worthwhile having a chat with someone at FSANZ about whether testing is necessary for you, and whether the tests would be one offs or need to be performed repeatedly.

I can’t personally recommend anyone who performs these tests for food products, but am sure I could find a recommendation for you from some colleagues if it turns out you need them.

Hope all that helps – and please bear in mind that my info may not be 100% accurate as I’m coming at it from a complementary medicines background rather than a food one.

You may also like to touch base with forum member MYOK (another Jane), who helps a lot of food start-ups in Melbourne.

Good luck, and I will look forward to seeing your dips in the stores.

Jayne