The Newsletter of the Food Regulation Secretariat - Issue 4 Jan 2006

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 4 Jan 2006 (PDF 55 KB)
    Issue 4 January 2006
    ISBN: 0 642 82515 7

    For our stakeholders

    Welcome to the fourth issue of our Newsletter. Please let us know if your contact details have changed, or you know of anyone who might be interested in receiving the newsletter. Our contact details are:
    Address: PO Box 4, Woden ACT 2606
    Email: FoodRegulationSecretariat
    Phone: (02) 6289 5128
    Fax: (02) 6289 5100

    Current projects and reviews

    Review of the FSANZ Assessment and Approval Process

    The Ministerial Council agreed to a number of measures at its October 2005 meeting to expedite FSANZ’s assessment and approval processes and better protect commercially valuable information in relation to health claims.

    The agreed measures that require legislative change have been referred to the Australian Government Minister for further consideration and consultation. In brief, these measures relate to:
    • prescribing the form of an application, including full substantiation requirements, in order to cut down on the number of times additional information has to be requested from applicants;
    • reforming the assessment and consultation processes - so that the complexity and nature of applications and proposals links to the level of consultation required;
    • the Ministerial Council - particularly in relation to reducing the number of rounds of reviews, ‘stop the clock’ provisions, and giving ‘directions’ to FSANZ; and
    • the protection of commercially valuable information in relation to health claims.
    A consultation document is soon to be released on the proposed legislative amendments.

    Review of the Food Regulation Agreement

    The Food Regulation Agreement is an Inter-Governmental Agreement, signed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). It gives effect to the establishment of a national approach to food regulation within Australia.

    At the March 2005 meeting of the Ministerial Council, Ministers agreed to the terms of reference and the process for the review. The review commenced in November 2005 and has sought views from a range of stakeholders.Top of page

    Review of the Treaty between Australia and New Zealand

    The review of the Food Regulation Agreement (FRA) triggers a review of the Treaty between Australia and New Zealand. The Treaty establishes the joint food system between the two countries. The Treaty Review is formally commencing early in 2006 and will be completed prior to the completion of the Review of the FRA.

    Implementation Sub Committee report

    The Implementation Sub Committee (ISC) has developed a report for the first two years of its operation (October 2003-October 2005). The report provides a detailed account of ISC’s progress to date on key tasks and operating arrangements.

    The report is now available on the Food Regulation Secretariat website

    Health Claims ‘Watchdog’

    The policy guideline on Nutrition, Health and Related Claims gave ISC the responsibility as the Health Claims ‘Watchdog’. Work is currently underway to implement ISC’s role as the ‘Watchdog’.

    The Health Claims Watchdog website is now active. The website will be updated as the ‘Watchdog’ continues to be developed.

    The policy guideline also details a Register of Experts for the purpose of providing independent advice to food regulation enforcement agencies on nutrition, health and related claims. Experts would be engaged on a case-by-case basis by the enforcement agency. A call for nominations for the Register of Experts will be advertised in mid 2006.

    FSANZ has released a Draft Assessment Report on nutrition, health and related claims which is available on the FSANZ website. It is anticipated the final recommendations on health claims will be ready for consideration by the Ministerial Council in mid 2006.

    Country of Origin Labelling

    In November 2005, FSANZ gazetted the new Country of Origin Food Labelling Standard for Australia. This followed consideration of the issue by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in October 2005. The standard will come into full force for unpackaged fruit, vegetables, nuts and seafood products in six months time, for unpackaged pork products in 12 months’ time and for packaged goods in two years’ time. The Australian Government has directed FSANZ, under the powers of section 11 of the Food Standard Australia New Zealand Act 1991, to consider the feasibility of extending country of origin labelling to products with two or less ‘whole food’ ingredients, including a regulatory impact statement, cost benefit analysis and consultation with stakeholders. FSANZ is due to report back to the Government by the end of March 2006.Top of page

    Review of the Intent of Part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code

    In March 2005, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council agreed that FSANZ will conduct a review of the intent of part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code.

    The purpose of the review is to ensure that part 2.9 of the Code is only used for those foods that are prepared for at-risk groups whose dietary requirements cannot always be satisfied by a normal diet. It should not apply to foods that are promoted and consumed as general foods.

    Current policy development

    Addition to food of substances other than vitamins and minerals

    In May 2004, the Ministerial Council agreed to investigate the addition to food of substances other than vitamins and minerals with a view to developing a policy guideline. A Policy Options Consultation Paper has been developed and will shortly be released for public consultation. The Paper will be released for a six week consultation period, and submissions from all interested stakeholders will be welcomed.

    The submissions received will inform the development of the policy guideline.

    Coming up

    Stakeholder Consultation Forum

    The first Stakeholder Consultation forum was held in March 2004. That forum was well received with stakeholders requesting that future forums be rotated around Australia and New Zealand. The second Stakeholder Consultation forum will be held in Adelaide on Tuesday 4 April 2006.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 Foods
    • Primary Production and Processing
    • Policy principles for health and related claims in food labelling and advertising

    Calendar dates for 2006

    Please note: The following dates may be subject to change.
    1st - ISC Teleconference
    3rd - FRSC - Western Australia
    5th - ISC - South Australia
    28th - ANZFRMC - Victoria
    14/15th - ISC
    21st - FRSC - Northern Territory
    30/31st - ISC
    27th - ANZFRMC - Queensland
    16th - ISC
    8th - FRSC – New Zealand

    ISC – Implementation Sub Committee
    FRSC – Food Regulation Standing Committee
    ANZFRMC – Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial CouncilTop of page