CFA has provided written feedback, and participated in online workshops, on a Scoping Paper produced by consultants as part of the Review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.
The Act is one of the main pieces of legislation and agreements that make up the joint food regulatory system that operates in Australia and New Zealand.
It mainly empowers Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to set and amend food standards and undertake other core functions. It underpins the safety of the food supply and provides a regulatory framework for how foods can enter the market in Australia and New Zealand.
CFA’s feedback included that:
- The provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices should be retained as an Object of the Act and an Objective of FSANZ.
- The prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct should be retained as an Objective of FSANZ and it should also be an Object of the FSANZ Act.
- FSANZ’s role in providing guidance about food standards should be enhanced.
- The role of FSANZ to assess general health claims should be broadened.
- The definitions and powers in legislation between therapeutic goods and foods should be aligned.
- The most important issues to be resolved through changes to the Act and FSANZ’s responsibilities are:
- Higher priority for public health issues and objectives related to food and diet.
- Improved and increased provision of information and education to assist consumers to make informed food choices.
- Improved consumer protection against misleading and deceptive conduct (including health and other claims) and at the food medicine interface.
A summary of stakeholder views on the Scoping Paper will be produced.
Findings will be collated into a Regulatory Impact Statement on which there will be further consultation lead by the Commonwealth Department of Health in collaboration with its New Zealand counterpart ahead of any legislative changes.