Food and grocery

Photo by gpointstudio/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by gpointstudio/iStock / Getty Images

Some years ago I identified the food and grocery sector as an undeveloped legal speciality.  Along with Ciska de Rijk I built a substantial trans-Tasman practice in this sector.

I provide risk weighted legal and strategic advice to clients in all parts of the sector, including manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

Through access to an extensive legal support network, I offer practical advice addressing issues including product standards, packaging and labelling, advertising, recall procedures, and regulatory approvals. My experience includes advising on:

Food cosmetics and supplements

·         New Zealand's food and dietary supplement regulatory regimes in respect of various types of products, including energy drinks, weight management products, powdered drinks, supplemented foods, sports foods, infant formula products, foods for special medical purposes and dietary supplements.

·         all aspects of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Food Code)

·         advice on labelling and advertising of cosmetics

·         major legislative reforms in the food and beverage space

·         weights and measures legislation, including negotiations with the relevant Australian regulator on the legislation

·         food and beverage product classification under the Food Code, New Zealand Supplemented Food Standard, and Dietary Supplement Regulations (including advice regarding mutual recognition arrangements with Australia under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act).

·         Advising on food colours, ingredient permissibility and new product formulations.

·         Advising on food packaging and labelling compliance, such as GMO labelling and allergen warnings.


·         local alcohol policies under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

·         advertising provisions under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

When things go wrong:  Regulators

·         Meetings and negotiations with various regulatory bodies including the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Commerce Commission, the Press Council, the Advertising Standards Authority, the New South Wales Food Authority, The Victorian Department of Health and Human Sciences, the National Measurement Institute (AUS) and Commercials Advice (being the body that classifies advertisements in Australia before broadcast)

When things go wrong:  recalls

·         Advising on numerous product recalls and providing legal input into risk assessments when recalls are being considered.

Law reform

·         Advising on the impact of major legislative reform such as the Food Act, Alcohol Law Reform, the Consumer Law Reform and Natural Products law reform.

Trade measurement

·         Advising on sampling proposals and procedures.

·          Interpretation of trade measurement legislation.

Related sales and marketing activity

·         various forms of advertising (including packaging and television commercials) to ensure compliance with the Fair Trading Act, Food Code and Advertising Standards Codes


·         Providing staff training seminars.


·         Advising on commercial contracts including supply and distribution, licensing and manufacturing agreements.