This content is current only at the time of printing. This document was printed on 8 December 2022. A current copy is located at https://apvma.gov.au/therapeutic-pet-food-products-specific
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Labelling Codes – veterinary products
The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (Agvet Code), scheduled to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 and the Agricultural and Veterinary Code Regulations 1995 (Agvet Code Regulations) requires that all agricultural and veterinary chemical (agvet) products supplied to the marketplace must have a label attached to the container. In addition, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) cannot register an agvet product without also approving a label for containers for the product.
Among other things, a label must comply with the requirements of the Labelling Standard or, if there is no Labelling Standard, the Agricultural or Veterinary Labelling Codes made by the APVMA, as in force from time to time.
Label submission and approval
While all label information must comply with the relevant Labelling Standard or Code, the APVMA will only assess and formally approve the subset of label-related information identified in the E-label template (that is, the information to which the APVMA must have regard to satisfy itself that a label meets the labelling criteria and approve the label (sections 5D and 14 of the Agvet Code)). The final E-label version is defined as the ‘approved (product) label’.
Labels and label variations must be submitted electronically using the E-label template.
Please refer to the introduction to preparing a label and the label approval process for more information.
Veterinary Labelling Code
The Veterinary Labelling Code (VLC) draws together the requirements of the Agvet Code and the Agvet Code Regulations (including in relation to the relevant particulars of labels and label conditions). It also includes additional guidance developed by the APVMA to ensure labels for containers for veterinary chemical products reflect current best practice.
The VLC aims to accurately reflect legislative requirements. Labels for containers for veterinary chemical products must comply with the VLC. If the VLC is found to be inconsistent with the Agvet Code or the Agvet Code Regulations, the Agvet Code and the Agvet Code Regulations take precedence. The VLC may be revised from time to time.
Where the term 'must' is used in the VLC, it is a legal requirement that labels comply with this provision or as determined by the APVMA.
Where the term ‘should’ is used in the VLC, the APVMA expects to see the statement(s) based on best practice and risk assessment or industry agreement.
Where the terms ‘may’ or ‘could’ are used in the VLC, it is strongly advised that this information is placed on labels, but is not compulsory.
Any variation from these words must be justified by supporting information or argument.
Any specific wording required to be included on a particular product label will be determined by the APVMA during evaluation of the application for approval of the label or variation of the approved label.
Labelling requirements and guidance
The VLC is presented below as a series of labelling requirements that cover the label content, presentation and layout of the approved and marketed labels.
Label content – veterinary products explains the general labelling information that needs to be placed on labels for veterinary chemical products and provides examples of acceptable wording for certain statements where specific statements are not mandated by the legislation. Some variations to the general labelling requirements apply to certain product classes. The specific requirements relate only to the particular product types or certain aspects of labelling identified. The content of a specific labelling requirement may extend content, or replace part of the content, contained in the general labelling requirements. All labels should otherwise comply with the general labelling requirements.
Label presentation and layout – veterinary products explains the requirements and additional guidance on how approved and marketed labels are to be structured and presented.
Additional guidance on veterinary products and/or labelling that do not form part of the VLC are presented in the left-hand navigation menu for informational purposes only.
How to use the VLC
Specific labelling requirements for individual veterinary chemical product classes can be viewed by using the dropdown menu below. Alternatively, you can view both the general and specific labelling requirements for individual product classes on the label content section of the VLC.
Headings, mandatory statements or examples of specific wording are presented in grey boxes throughout the specific labelling requirements. These statements are displayed in the font and/or formatting required for the marketed label presentation (e.g. regular or bold typeface and lower or upper case). If font and/or formatting requirements are not stated, it is encouraged the statements follow the VLC example formatting.
Label presentation boxes
Additional information about the presentation of the marketed label and layout of specific sections can be accessed by clicking the ‘Click to view label presentation’ options throughout each part of the general and specific labelling requirements. This information will be displayed in a grey box and can be collapsed by clicking the ‘Click to view label presentation’ heading.
Please refer to the label presentation and layout of veterinary chemical products for more information on the format and presentation of marketed labels.
General labelling requirements
Specific labelling requirements
The following information must appear on all therapeutic pet food product labels:
- The product name
- An indication of product type (for example, food)
- A description (content, use, claim) – include any nutrients that relate to the product claim; express content as ‘% as fed’,‘unit of energy’/weight
- The nutrient composition (related to claim)
- The net contents of the product (in metric weight)
- The directions for use (clear, simple and concise) – include dosage rates, period of use, and other information that may affect the efficacy and safety of the product
- The statement ‘Use under directions of a veterinarian’
- A ‘use before’ or ‘best before’ date, or expiry date
- The APVMA approval number (assigned at time of label approval)
- Storage information (to be stored below 30°C, in a cool dry place)
- Contact information
The following information should be included as part of the marketed label.
- A feeding guide
- The ingredients
The heading ‘for animal treatment only’ is not required but labels of therapeutic pet food products may use the statement ‘for animal consumption only’ to identify them as an animal product but differentiate them from veterinary products or medicines used for animal treatment.