Priority List for Food Regulation System

The Plan identifies 5 Work Priorities for 2007 which have been included in the existing Standing Committee Priority List.

Page last updated: 19 January 2009

PDF printable version of Priority List of Food Regulation System (PDF 147 KB)


Current policy development

Addition to Food of Substances Other than Vitamins and Minerals

To consider addition to food of substances other than vitamins and minerals.

Following a public consultation period in early 2006 a draft policy guideline was developed and considered by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) on 8 December 2006. FRSC referred the draft policy guideline back to the Addition of Substances Working Group for further consideration and consultation.
Consultations were conducted in December 2007. FRSC will consider the revised Policy Guideline at its meeting in March 2008.

W/group FRSC Addition of Substances Sub Group
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing
Contact: Kylie Jonasson

Proposed work for 2008


Draft policy guideline, to be considered by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council.
Addition to Food of Substances other than Vitamins and Minerals Sub Group continue with revised terms of reference to develop a policy guideline for the intent of part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code - special purpose foods.
The Addition to Food of Substances other than Vitamins and Minerals Working Group, with additional membership if appropriate, prepare a Policy Guideline for Infant Formula (Standard 2.9.1).

Food Safety Risk Profiling

Identification of a process for the risk profiling of food business sectors into risk categories to aid decisions on risk management requirements. Stage 1 will be conducted in 3 phases: Phase 1 (scoping), Phase 2 (development) and Phase 3 (trial). Stage 2 will use the results from Stage 1 to assess the most appropriate food safety management system and to verify each risk category.

The Risk Profiling Framework was endorsed by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) at its March 2007 meeting. A Task Group (chaired by the New South Wales Food Authority) of the FRSC Food Safety Management Working Group is in the process of undertaking further work to develop a list of key food business sectors and to scope the extent of work that would be required to assign risk priority classifications to those sectors. An update is expected from the Task Group at FRSC’s March 2008 meeting.
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W/group: FRSC Risk Profiling Working Group
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing
Contact: Ian McKay

Proposed work for 2008

FRSC Food Safety Management Working Group Task Group to engage an external group of technical experts to develop a list of key food business sectors and to scope the extent of work that would be required to assign risk priority classifications to those sectors.

Front of Pack Labelling

A newly established FRSC working group will explore and report on whether a uniform front-of-pack labelling system would be an effective health strategy for Australia and advise the Ministerial Council on the efficacy of a range of options for such a labelling system.

A FRSC working group has been established to consider information already available in the area of front of pack including the early consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. The process for this work including timeline and terms of reference was endorsed in May 2007 by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council).

At a joint meeting of the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee (APHDPC) and FRSC on 1 February 2008 Members noted that further evidence is required in determining the place of front-of-pack labelling as a public health strategy in Australia and New Zealand. Work is to be undertaken by both FRSC and APHDPC.

The FOP WG anticipates presenting the Final Report to FRSC in August 2008 and to the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in October 2008 for endorsement.

W/group: FRSC Front of Pack Labelling Working Group
Chair: NSW Health
Contact: Elizabeth Develin

Proposed work for 2008

  • APHDPC will conduct work on how a front-of-pack system could fit with current other Australian and New Zealand health strategies and report back to FRSC.
  • The front-of-pack working group would continue to gather international evidence on front-of-pack schemes and consumer response behaviours.
  • The FOP WG will report back to FRSC in August 2008 and Ministerial Council in late 2008.

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Projects, Reviews

Strategic Plan 2006-2011: 2007 Work Priorities

Coordinated by: FRSC Strategic Planning Working Group (SPWG)
Chair: NSW Food Authority
Contact: Craig Sahlin

Develop a Vision for the Role of Food Regulation

SPWG will develop a vision statement to clarify the role of food regulation in achieving the full range of outcomes related to food including; food safety, nutrition and healthy eating, consumer protection, facilitation of trade and commerce, and boundaries with other regulatory systems.

Current status

Draft Overarching Strategic Statement submitted for consideration of FRSC meeting March 2008.

Proposed work for 2008

  • Overarching Strategic Statement for the Food Regulatory System to be considered by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in 2008.
  • The SPWG will commence work on a comprehensive strategic plan for consideration by FRSC.

Enhance Jurisdictions’ input to Codex Standard Setting processes

The Australian Government Departments of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) will review current arrangements for Australian jurisdictional interaction with CODEX standard setting and advise FRSC on the current arrangements for input to CODEX and recommendations regarding improved opportunities for jurisdictional information and input.
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Current status

An agenda paper proposing improved arrangements for Codex input was submitted for FRSC November 2007 meeting and recommendations were agreed out-of-session. While supporting the recommendations, NSW and Victoria identified further issues for discussion.

Proposed work for 2008

SPWG proposes that DAFF work directly with NSW and Victoria on the issues raises, with further report-back to FRSC if required. Otherwise complete.

SPWG will develop a discussion paper with practical recommendations for effective sharing of knowledge, resources and information by food regulatory agencies. The focus will be on maximising use of resources and avoiding/reducing duplication of effort.

Current status

SPWG agreed that a simple verbal survey of FRSC and ISC members would provide the data and opinion needed to prepare the discussion paper. However, this was not progressed due to lack of resources/time.

Proposed work for 2008

SPWG proposes that this work item not be a priority for 2008

Monitoring and Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance in Food

In 2007, Food Regulation Standing Committee commissioned Food Science Australia to conduct a pilot survey of foods for bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This survey forms part of a three pronged approach to national surveillance of antimicrobial resistance covering all areas of antibiotic use (food-producing animals, food and humans). The project was funded by all States and Territories, and the Australian Government. The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing managed the survey on behalf of FRSC. The survey report, a plain language summary and a questions and answers document relating to the report, are attached.

W/group: FRSC Working Group to Oversee the Survey of AMR in Food
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing
Contact: Margaret Curran
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Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food - Part 1 - Executive Summary to Materials and Methods (PDF 172 KB)
Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food - Part 2 - Results (PDF 201 KB)
Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food - Part 3 - Results (PDF 309 KB)
Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food - Part 4 - Discussion to Supplementary file note (PDF 189 KB)

Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food: Questions and Answers document

Pilot survey for Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR) Bacteria in Australian Food: Plain Language Summary

A HTML version of this document is being prepared. If you are having difficulty accessing this PDF, please contact the Food Regulation Secretariat for an alternative version to be sent to you.

Review of the Operations of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council

The COAG Compendium for Commonwealth-State Ministerial Councils specifies that every three years the operations of Ministerial Councils should be reviewed.

The Ministerial Council agreed to the Terms of Reference for the review of its operations during its meeting on 4 May 2007. The review was expected to be completed in time for the December 2007 FRSC meeting. However, to provide Ministers with sufficient time to make a submission the original consultation period was extended by four weeks. To allow the P&P working group sufficient time to review the draft report and develop draft recommendations, the completion date for the final report had to be delayed to meet the March 2008 FRSC meeting.

W/group: FRSC Principles and Protocols Working Group
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing
Contact: Catherine Gay

Proposed work for 2008

  • The draft Report of the Review of the Operations of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council 2007, with the amendment to be referred to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council for consideration and endorsement.
  • The Department of Health and Ageing will develop a workplan outlining indicative resources and timelines required to implement the Review recommendations.

Implementation of Primary Production and Processing Standards

ISC has identified issues relating to the consistent implementation of National Primary Production and Processing Standards.
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The FRSC Primary Production and Processing Working Group (PPP WG) has been working on amendments of the Food Regulation Agreement (FRA) to facilitate consistent implementation of PPP standards. The PPP WG will report back to FRSC at its meeting on 7 March 2008 regarding potential amendments to the FRA.
Work is also underway to investigate the necessity for amendments to the Model Food Provisions.

W/group: FRSC Primary Production and Processing Working Group
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
Contact: Richard Souness

Proposed work for 2008

  • The PPP Working Group will advise FRSC at its meeting in August 2008 of the necessity for amendments to the MFP following consideration of the outcome of FSANZ’s consultation with jurisdictions on implementation of PPP standards.
  • Amendments to the Food Regulation Agreement to be completed by the FRSC Strategic Planning Working Group.

Review of the Food Regulation Agreement (FRA)

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

On 25 October 2006, the Ministerial Council endorsed the Report on the Review of the Agreement and agreed to refer the Report to COAG. The Report was provided to COAG in December 2006.

Amendment Act 2007 were developed between May and September 2007. The re-drafted FRA was endorsed by the Ministerial Council in October 2007 and was provided to COAG for endorsement and signatures on 12 December 2007. It is expected that it will be considered by COAG at its 28 March 2008 meeting.

A number of the key projects that will inform the way forward on potential further change to the FRA are still in progress, such as the Review of Australia’s Food Regulation System and the development of an overarching strategic statement for the system by the FRSC’s Strategic Working Group.

It is therefore anticipated that the report on potential further changes to the FRA can not be provided to COAG until at least December 2008. The extra time will ensure that the report to COAG will have a strategic focus and will be supported by factual information on what further improvements could be made to the national food regulation system.

W/group: FRSC Strategic Planning Working Group
Chair: New South Wales Food Authority
Contact: Craig Sahlin

Proposed work for 2008

  • Report on potential further changes to the FRA to be provided to COAG in December 2008.

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Recently completed Projects and Watching Briefs

Strategic Plan 2006-2011: 2007 Work Priorities

Engagement with Bethwaite Review

At the December 2006 FRSC planning workshop the provision of input by FRSC members to the Review was considered an important opportunity to contribute to the continued evolution and improvement of the food regulatory system.

Current status

Mr Bethwaite attended the FRSC meeting on 16 March 2007 and the ISC meeting on 11 April 2007. Jurisdictions participated in forums held in most capital cities, provided submissions, and participated in data collection processes. Final report has not been released. Commonwealth has undertaken to provide copy to ANZFRMC members before release.

Proposed work for 2008

Participation by jurisdictions is complete

Identify options for Food and Nutrition Monitoring and Surveillance

This work has significantly progressed with the provision of on-going Commonwealth funding for a national nutrition and physical activity survey. DoHA is chairing a sub committee of the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee that will further explore the development of a model food, nutrition and physical activity monitoring system and identify funding options.

Current status

Underway

Proposed work for 2008

Food Regulation work completed. Work to be completed by Australian Population Health Development Principle Committee.

Actions from the Food Policy Stakeholder Consultative Forum held on 4 April 2006

The second Australian Stakeholder Consultation Forum was held in Adelaide on 4 April 2006.
FRSC considered the summary report of the Forum at its meeting on 19 July 2006. This summary report has been included on the Food Regulation Secretariat Website.
In response to feedback received on the policy development process FRSC agreed, in August 2007 to make improvements to the process outlined in the Principles and Protocols for the Development of Food Regulation Policy Guidelines document at its meeting in August 2007. FRSC is due to consider the proposed amendments at its meeting on 7 March 2008
W/group:FRSC Principles and Protocols Working Group
Chair: Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing
Contact: :Catherine Gay
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Mandatory Fortification Monitoring

Under the Ministerial Council’s Policy Guideline on the Fortification of Food with Vitamins and Minerals any agreement to require mandatory fortification should be accompanied by monitoring and formal review.

FRSC has referred the draft monitoring frameworks for both folic acid and iodine monitoring systems to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council for advice in relation to the draft monitoring frameworks and consideration of which bodies should oversee the reporting against the finalised monitoring frameworks and be tasked with oversight of the evaluation at an appropriate interval post implementation.

The Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) has endorsed the monitoring frameworks for the mandatory fortification of food with folic acid and iodine and agreed that the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is the appropriate body to conduct monitoring activities. Funding of $300,000 will be provided by AHMAC for the implementation costs of the frameworks and the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee (APHDPC), with appropriate representation from New Zealand, will provide oversight for the monitoring and evaluation activities for mandatory fortification for both Australia and New Zealand.

W/group: Folic Acid Expert Group
Chair: DoHA
Contact: Kylie Jonasson

Review of the Policy Guideline on the addition of Caffeine to Foods

When the Ministerial Council agreed to this policy guideline in August 2003 it asked that the policy guideline be reviewed in two years time.

At its meeting on 5 May 2006 the Ministerial Council agreed that the review of the policy guideline on caffeine be deferred until other activities yield new evidence.
FRSC will keep a watching brief on this matter.

Maximum Residue Level Harmonisation

Development of a process aimed at achieving harmonisation of the FSANZ and Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority assessment and approval process for maximum residue limits (MRL) of agricultural and veterinary chemicals in food.

The processes of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and of FSANZ for the cooperative setting of Maximum Residue Limits was aligned by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Amendment Act 2007, which received Royal Assent on 28 June 2007.

The provisions within the Act that start the cooperative arrangement commenced on 1 October 2007.

Review of the FSANZ assessment and approval processes, and treatment of confidential commercial information

Concerns have been raised about the timeliness of the FSANZ assessment and approval process and the ability of FSANZ to protect commercial-in-confidence information while conducting consultation processes.

On 28 October 2005 the Ministerial Council agreed to a number of measures that will assist FSANZ to expedite food standards development and protect commercially valuable information.

The agreed measures that could be implemented through administrative change were referred to FSANZ and have been implemented.

The agreed proposals that require legislative change were referred to the Commonwealth Government.. The majority of the agreed proposals that require legislative change that had been referred to the Commonwealth Government were progressed through the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Amendment Act 2007, which received Royal Assent on 28 June 2007.

One outstanding issues remains. FRSC requested that the Strategic Working Group further investigate the issue raised during consultation on binding policy statements and that the Ministerial Council be advised through FRSC on progressing this item.
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Food Safety Audit

As part of its mandate to develop a national approach to consistent implementation and enforcement, ISC has identified the need for national consistency in food safety auditing.

At its meeting on 25 October 2006 the Ministerial Council endorsed the National Food Safety Audit Policy.

The Policy has been included on the Food Regulation Secretariat website.

ISC has formed a National Food Safety Audit Policy Implementation Working Group. The Working Group’s project plan for implementation is progressing

Delivered Meals Organisations (DMOs)

The DMO project involves building upon and further developing the good practice resources already being used by individual DMOs and distributing this information to the broader community.

Project modules 1 & 2 to help DMOs to comply with the national Food Safety Standards were completed in late 2005 and disseminated to all DMOs in early 2007. Module 3, to guide DMOs in implementing their own business-specific food safety programs was finalised in late 2006 and is currently being disseminated electronically to all DMOs via the jurisdictions.

Strategy for Consistent Implementation and Enforcement of Food Regulation

ISC is responsible for developing and overseeing a consistent approach to the implementation and enforcement of food regulations and standards across Australia.

ISC has developed a strategy for consistent implementation and enforcement of food regulation in Australia and a three year rolling work plan. The strategy and the work plan were endorsed by the Ministerial Council in October 2005 and updated by ISC in July 2007. ISC will report at each FRSC meeting on progress with the plan and specific projects. FRSC will report annually to the Ministerial Council against the key performance measures.

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