The Newsletter of the Food Regulation Secretariat - Issue 10 Dec 2009

An initiative of the Australian Federal, State and Territory and New Zealand Governments

Page last updated: 08 October 2013

PDF printable version of The Newsletter of the Food Regulation Secretariat Issue 10 December 2009 (PDF 66 KB)

Current projects and reviews

Comprehensive Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) and the Council of Australian Governments have agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of food labelling law and policy. The Ministerial Council released the Terms of Reference for the review on 23 October 2009 and announced the appointment of Dr Neal Blewett AC to head up the independent review panel. The members of the review panel are public health law academic Dr Chris Reynolds, economic and consumer behaviour expert Dr Simone Pettigrew, food and nutrition policy academic Associate Professor Heather Yeatman, and food industry communications, marketing and corporate affairs professional Nick Goddard.

The review has commenced and an initial public consultation period called for submissions about issues that are within the scope of the Terms of Reference, for consideration by the panel as part of the review process.

The Committee is committed to ensuring that the review considers all relevant issues raised in nearly 6000 submissions that have been received.

The Committee is using the submissions to inform an issues paper, which will be released in early March 2010. This paper will form the basis of the public consultation which is being scheduled for all capital cities in Australia and New Zealand from March to early May. Written submissions will also be invited at that time. A schedule for consultation meetings is currently being developed and registration for the consultation meetings will open in mid February.

Further details about the process will be published on the website once they become available.

Trans Fatty Acids and Saturated Fats in the Australia and New Zealand Food Supply

During its meeting in October the Ministerial Council received the review report, ‘Intakes of Trans Fatty Acids in Australia and New Zealand 2009 Assessment’. The Report shows that intakes of trans fatty acids are decreasing in Australia and New Zealand. The Ministerial Council endorsed the recommendation to retain current non-regulatory approaches to reducing the levels of trans fatty acids in the food supply, and agreed to the publication of the report on the website of FSANZ.

The Ministerial Council welcomed the work of industry to reduce trans fatty acids in food by 25-40%. However Ministers expressed concern that intakes of saturated fat remained higher than the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations and agreed to provide the report to the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference for their information and consideration.

Ministers expressed their hope that a cooperative approach can also be taken with industry to reduce levels of saturated fat.Top of page

Caffeinated Energy Drinks

The Ministerial Council during its meeting in October also noted community concerns at the number of caffeinated energy drinks on the market and reports of recent incidents involving their consumption by young people. The Ministerial Council agreed that it would be timely to review the scientific evidence on caffeine and its use and noted the actions already taken by the TGA and NSW Government in this area. The Ministerial Council asked the Standing Committee to consider the issues raised and report back to their next meeting with further information and options for action. The Ministerial Council also agreed that, in the meantime, a national compliance strategy for caffeinated energy drinks be developed.

Policies finalised

Front of Pack Labelling

At the Ministerial Council meeting held on 23 October 2009, Ministers endorsed a Ministerial Council policy statement which outlines its views on food labelling that could be used to guide consumers to healthier food options. The policy statement will be provided to the Food Labelling Review Panel for consideration and at the same time it will be provided to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to inform their input into the Food Labelling Review and any subsequent actions that might result from the Review.

Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals

The Ministerial Council during the same meeting also endorsed a revised Policy Guideline for the Fortification of Foods with Vitamins and Minerals. The updated guideline now specifies that permission to fortify should not promote increased consumption of foods with little or no nutritional value and that have no other demonstrated health benefits.

Review of the Intent of Part 2.9 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

The Policy Guideline on the intent of Part 2.9 of the Code has been developed to provide guidance to FSANZ on the intent of Part 2.9 of the Code. It is not intended that the Policy Guideline will have the effect that Food Standards need to be removed from the Code. The Policy Guideline is to provide FSANZ with guidance to ensure that Standards relating to Special Purpose Foods are placed appropriately within the Code, and ensure that Part 2.9 Standards do not unintentionally capture foods that are general purpose in nature.

At its meeting on 23 October 2009, the Ministerial Council endorsed the draft Policy Guideline on the Intent of Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code – Special Purpose Foods and agreed to provide the Policy Guideline to FSANZ to assist in the reviewing of this part of the Code.Top of page

Policies under development

Review of Infant Formula 2.9.1

A public consultation process held as part of the review of 2.9.1 has been finalised. This consultation process also included three stakeholder meetings in New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne. Forty eight submissions were received as a result of the consultation. The level of details in the submissions demonstrated a high degree of stakeholder engagement with the issues and as expected there was a wide variation in responses.

The Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) Working Group is drafting a policy guideline taking submissions into account.

The Terms of Reference and timeline can be viewed on the Food Regulation Secretariat website.

Calendar dates for 2010

Please note: The following dates may be subject to change.
4th & 5th - ISC - Wellington
12th - FRSC - Canberra
30th - ANZFRMC - Melbourne
18th - Stakeholder Forum - Canberra
12th & 13th - ISC - Brisbane
1st - FRSC - Perth
3rd - ANZFRMC - Adelaide

ISC – Implementation Sub Committee
FRSC – Food Regulation Standing Committee
ANZFRMC – Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board Appointments 2009

The term of appointment of one of the 12 FSANZ Board Members is due to expire on 30 June 2010.

The Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Act 1991 and its Regulations set out the requirements for seeking nominations and making appointments to positions on the FSANZ Board.

It is expected that the Parliamentary Secretary, the Hon Mark Butler will make an announcement regarding the appointment before 1 July 2010.Top of page

Completed policy guidelines

The following policy guidelines have been completed and are on the Food Regulation Secretariat website.
  • Fortification of Food with Vitamins and Minerals
  • Nutrition, Health and Related Claims
  • Food Safety Management in Australia: Food Safety Programs
  • Country of Origin Labelling
  • Novel Foods
  • Addition of Caffeine to FoodsPrimary Production and Processing
  • Policy principles for health and related claims in food labelling and advertising
  • Regulation of Residues of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals in Food
  • National Food Safety Audit Policy
  • Revise Principles and Protocols for the Development of Food regulation Policy Guidelines
  • Addition of Substances other than Vitamins and Minerals

For our stakeholders

Please let us know if your contact details have changed. If you know of anyone who might be interested in receiving the newsletter please register for our database on the website listed below. The Secretariat contact details are:
Address: PO Box 4, Woden ACT 2606
Email: Food Regulation Secretariat
Phone: (02) 6289 5128
Fax: (02) 6289 5100Top of page