The Newsletter of the Food Regulation Secretariat - Issue 9 June 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 Food Regulation Secretariat Newsletter Issue 9 June 2009 (PDF 44 KB)

Issue 9 June 2009
ISBN: 0 642 82515 7

Policies under development

Front of Pack Labelling

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council), during its meeting on 1 May 2009, progressed a number of Food Labelling matters. In relation to the Policy Guideline for front of pack labelling (FOPL), the Ministerial Council noted that progress has been made and that the stakeholder consultation on the development of a FOPL is complete. The consultation confirmed that there are currently divergent views in relation to FOPL. The draft Policy Guideline is to be provided to the October 2009 Ministerial Council meeting.

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

In March 2008, the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC established a Working Group to develop a Policy Guideline on the intent of Part 2.9 of the Code – Special Purpose Foods.

The Policy Guideline is to be designed to provide guidance to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (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.

During the public consultation on this issue (between 17 January and 3 March 2009) a large number of submissions were received. In light of these submissions the draft policy paper will be reviewed by FRSC in August 2009. The draft Policy Guideline is to be provided to the October 2009 Ministerial Council meeting.

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

Review of Infant Formula 2.9.1

In June 2008, FRSC established a Working Group to develop a Policy Guideline on Infant Formula Products. The purpose of the Policy Guideline is to ensure that the policy intent underpinning standards in this area is adequate to address the research, developments and future trends in respect of the composition and labelling of infant formula products.

The Terms of Reference and timeline can be viewed at the Food Regulation Secretariat website.Top of page

Review of policy guideline Food Safety Management in Australia – Food Safety Programs in relation to Catering Operations

During its 1 May 2009 meeting the Ministerial Council agreed in-principle to review its policy guideline Food Safety Management in Australia – Food Safety Programs in relation to the food service sector (excluding existing requirements applying to food service to vulnerable populations). FRSC has been asked to provide advice on options for the scope and conduct of this review to the October 2009 Ministerial Council meeting.

Current projects and reviews

Comprehensive Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy

At the Ministerial Council meeting on 1 May 2009, the Terms of Reference for an independent, comprehensive review of food labelling law and policy were agreed. The review panel is yet to be confirmed but will comprise prominent individuals who collectively possess knowledge and expertise in the fields of public policy/economics, public health, law consumer behaviour and business. The review is to be chaired by an independent public policy expert who will be selected by the Ministerial Council once funding for the review has been secured.

Health Warnings on Packaged Alcohol

During its 1 May 2009 meeting the Ministerial Council also considered a report on alcohol warning labels and the evidence of their effectiveness on risky alcohol consumption. The report was developed in response to the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) announcement to curb alcohol misuse and binge drinking among young people. The Ministerial Council agreed to provide this report to the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy to allow a single and coordinated response to COAG as a part of its broad and comprehensive approach to reducing binge drinking.

Food colouring

In December 2008, FSANZ released a report titled “Survey of Added Colours in Foods Available in Australia” which confirmed that dietary exposure to individual added colours was below the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) even for highest consumers. The survey provides significant reassurance that there is no public health and safety risk from the consumption of foods containing added colours as part of a balanced diet.

The Ministerial Council has previously noted FSANZ’s efforts in monitoring and researching issues in relation to food colours and requested to be kept informed.

Trans fatty acids in the Australia and New Zealand food supply

During their recent meeting the Ministerial Council also received a progress report on dietary modelling activities in relation to trans fatty acid intakes in the Australian and New Zealand food supplies. The update included a review of recent scientific literature regarding the link between dietary intake of trans fatty acids and adverse health outcomes and a report on the progress of voluntary initiatives by industry to reduce trans fatty acids in the food supply. It is anticipated that the final report on trans fatty acid intakes will be presented to the Ministerial Council at its next meeting in October 2009.Top of page

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 5100
Website: Food Regulation Secretariat

Calendar dates for 2009

Please note: The following dates may be subject to change.
June:
19th - 4th Stakeholder Consultation Forum – Melbourne
July:
8th & 9th - ISC – Sydney
August:
7th – FRSC – Wellington
October:
23th – Ministerial Council – Brisbane
November:
4th & 5th – ISC – Fremantle
November:
27th – FRSC – Adelaide

Acronyms
ISC - Implementation Sub Committee
FRSC - Food Regulation Standing Committee
Ministerial Council - Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial CouncilTop of page

Negotiations to amend the joint Food Standards Treaty

Negotiations between Australia and New Zealand to amend the ‘Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand Concerning a Joint Food Standards System’ have commenced in April 2009 and are progressing well. The following general steps will be followed during the Treaty amendment process:
  • Negotiation and drafting of the Treaty amendments between officials from the Australian and New Zealand Government.
  • Development of National Impact Assessment and consultation with industry and State and Territory Governments and other stakeholders.
  • Re-negotiation and re-drafting, if required, and agreement in-principle at official level.
  • Federal Ministers with a portfolio interest to agree the amendments.
  • Amendments considered by Parliament and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.
  • Federal Executive Council approval of the Treaty action.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board Appointments 2009

The terms of appointment of seven of the 12 FSANZ Board Members are due to expire on 30 June 2009.

Nominations for Board appointments closed on 19 December 2008.

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, Senator the Hon Jan McLucas will make an announcement regarding the appointments before
1 July 2009.Top of page

Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria in Australian Food update

The survey report, Pilot survey for antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria in Australian Food, was publicly released on the Food Regulation Secretariat’s website in January 2009.

A Questions and Answers Document and a Plain Language Summary were also posted. The documents are available on the Food Regulation Secretariat website.

(You may need to scroll down to find the section on “Monitoring and Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance in Food”).

Completed policy guidelines

The following policy guidelines have been completed and are on the Food Regulation Secretariat website.