Planning to import and sell clothing, electronics, toys, or other consumer products in Australia? In this guide, we explain what all importers and exporters must know about Australian product labeling requirements – including manufacturer information, packaging, statements, and more.
The Australia Border Force requires certain goods to be labeled before being imported to Australia, including information such as product description, manufacturer information, packaging information, and other statements.
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Clothing & Textiles Labeling
The Consumer Protection Notice No. 25 of 2010 set mandatory requirements for care labeling of clothing and apparel, referring to the Standard AS/NZS 1957:1998 and AS 2622:2019 on care labeling requirement for textiles. This mandatory standard is applicable to apparels made of the following materials:
- Home textiles
- Suede skins clothing
Care labels should be sewn permanently to the clothing. Information provided on labels should have the following contents:
- Written in English
- Product descriptions
- Care symbols and instructions
- Fabric composition
Even though there are no mandatory requirements, it’s a good practice to also sizes, for which there are several standards available such as:
- AS 1344-1997: Size coding scheme for women’s clothing
- AS 1954:1976: Size designation scheme for men’s clothing
- AS 1182:1997: Size coding scheme for infants’ and children’s clothing
Electronics Labeling: Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)
Electrical and electronic equipment manufactured or imported in the Australian market must bear the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
The RCM mark shows that a product is safe to supply to the Australian market. Importers should refer to Standard AS/NZS 4417: Marking of electrical equipment for detailed labeling requirements.
Here we list some of the requirements:
- The label must be legible
- The label must be permanently attached or engraved to the product in a visible place
- The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) must be larger than 3 millimeters in height
In the situation when it is not possible to apply the label to the surface of the electronic product, you shall:
- Display the label on the product packaging and product documents
- Provide sufficient reasons to explain why the label is not displayed
Note that the RCM mark is adopted by both the EESS (Electrical Equipment Safety System), which regulates electrical safety, and the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority), which in turn regulates telecommunications, broadcasting, and radio communications in Australia.
Besides labeling, the EESS and ACMA require electronic products importers to ensure the compliance of their products to all applicable standards and the appropriate labeling before supply to the Australian market.
Note: The RCM mark has replaced the A-Tick and C-Tick marks since 2016.
Children’s Products Labeling
Children’s products in Australia are subject to several mandatory safety standards, regulating the design, construction, materials, labeling, and packaging, in order to reduce the risk of serious injuries to children.
For example, the Mandatory standard for “Toys for children up to and including 36 months of age”, which was formulated in deference to the voluntary standard AS/NZS TR 8124.8:2016 Safety of Toys Age Determination Guidelines, explains the requirements for toys labeling and packaging.
According to the standard, toy products with certain features, like containing sharp points, choked beads, or other potential hazards to children are required to provide warning labels and suggestive information indicating the danger of the product.
In addition, age grading and cautionary labeling should be marked on certain toy products to give instructions or warning to caregivers when using the toys.
Under this mandatory standard, the following are some regulated example products:
- Toy dummies
- Squeeze toys
- Toy cars, trucks and other vehicles
Here are some national mandatory standards covering toy product labeling:
- AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Flotation and aquatic toys
- AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Projectile toys
- AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 Children’s toys containing magnets
Other children’s products’ labeling requirements include:
a. The Consumer Goods (Babies’ Dummies and Dummy Chains) Safety Standard 2017 based on AS 2432:2015 for safety requirements, test methods and labeling
b. The Consumer Protection Notice No.1 of 2013 mandatory safety and labeling requirements for baby walkers based on ASTM F977-12 ‘Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Infant Walkers’
c. The Consumer Goods (Children’s Nightwear and Limited Daywear and Paper Patterns for Children’s Nightwear) Safety Standard and labeling requirements 2017 for children’s nightwear based on AS/NZS 1249:2014 for Children’s nightwear
d. The Consumer Protection Notice No. 8 of 2007 mandatory safety and labeling requirements for prams and strollers based on AS/NZS 2088:2000 ‘Prams and strollers—safety requirements’
Home & Furniture Labeling
Certain furniture products in Australia are regulated by the national mandatory standards in the aspects of design, construction, materials, and labeling.
For example, the mandatory standard for bunk beds, which is based on the voluntary standard AS/NZS 4220:1994 Bunk beds, requires that the label must specify the maximum mattress height on the upper bed where the height of the guardrails is less than 360 mm in order to prevent the falling of the children.
Furniture with textile parts
For furniture that is made of or contain fabric, suede skin, leathers and fur materials, such as upholstered chairs, couches, cushions, and bean bags, are under the national mandatory standard, which is based on standard AS/NZS 1957:1998 for textile products’ care labeling, as discussed above.
The mandatory standards require that such products must provide sufficient information on the labels, manufacturer information, care symbols, and instructions, and other necessary information in the language of English or extra languages.
Another relevant mandatory standard for furniture products in Australia is The Consumer Goods (Bean Bags) Safety Standard 2014, which mandates that bean bags with fillings provide children suffocation warning in a permanent affixing fashion to the product, in bold and red letters.
Products like pet beds, stable tables, futon mattresses, footstools are also under the scope of regulation of this standard.
Food Contact Material Labeling
Australia and New Zealand adopt a joint bi-national regulation, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to regulate food contact materials placed in the two markets. This Code mainly regulates food packaging material labeling, food additive, and food processing procedures.
The Code requires that food-contact materials must be safe, and provides guiding information such as the maximum contaminant levels for some metals, like tin and lead, non-metals, and naturally occurring toxicants.
A voluntary standard for FCM is AS 2070:1999 for plastics materials for food contact use, which sets out the requirements for the design, construction, and labeling of the material.
Country of Origin
For general products, manufacturers and importers are allowed to make any origin claims, as long as such claims aren’t deceptive for the consumer. For example, you can’t claim that a product imported from China is manufactured in Australia, or elsewhere.
For food products, the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016, set by the ACL (Australian Consumer Law), states that country of origin information must be born in certain food products sold in Australia.
The country of origin information can be expressed in the following forms:
- Use words such as ‘Made in Australia’, ‘Product of Indonesia’, ‘Grown in the Philippines’
- Use the map or flag image of the country of origin
In addition, the standard also requires the manufacturer’s information, content composition, nutritional value, or other necessary information to be displayed on the labels.