The following is from an article written by Joe Lederman (Managing Principal, FoodLegal) and John Thisgaard (FoodLegal Consultant), and is an excellent summary of what food laws are under review or being changed.
© Lawmedia Pty Ltd, March 2016
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
1. New Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (‘Food Standards Code’) now effective
As of 1 March 2016, the new Food Standards Code took effect.
2. FSANZ alters submission date on Application A1118
FSANZ has altered the closing date for submissions on Application A1118. The Application would permit food from a genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant corn line to be added to the Food Standards Code.
Submissions are now due 22 March 2016.
3. FSANZ calls for submissions on variations to maximum residue limits (MRL)
FSANZ has issued a call for submissions on proposed variations to Australian MRLs for agricultural and veterinary chemicals. The request was lodged by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). The APVMA says its purpose is to harmonise Australian laws with those set by Codex Alimentarius and other jurisdictions.
Standard 1.4.2 in the Food Standards Code lists the maximum permitted levels of agricultural and veterinary chemical residues in food. These residue limits apply in Australia only, while New Zealand maintains its own MRLs.
FSANZ and APVMA have differing responsibilities in relation to the development of MRLs, to address chemical residues occuring in foods after chemical products are used for agricultural and veterinary purposes in Australia.
Submissions are due 29 April 2016.
4. FSANZ calls for submissions on Application A1120 – Agarose Ion Exchange Resin as a Processing Aid for Lactoferrin Production
FSANZ invites written submissions on the draft variations to the Food Standards Code arising from Application A1120. This application seeks to permit the use of agarose ion exchange resins as a processing aid in the production of high purity lactoferrin from bovine milk and milk-related products.
FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon noted that this processing aid is “already used elsewhere in the world to extract the lactoferrin from milk for use as an ingredient in other products. FSANZ has assessed the application and determined there are no public health and safety concerns associated with its use.”
Submissions are due 29 March 2016.
5. FSANZ calls for submissions on Proposal P1028 – Standards for Infant Formula
FSANZ invites written submissions on draft variations to the Food Standards Code arising from Proposal P1028. The proposal aims to revise and clarify relevant infant formula product standards, including: category definitions; composition; labelling of products; representation of products.
Steve McCutcheon, FSANZ Chief Executive Officer, says that the proposal regards “clarifying some standards, bringing them up to date with the latest scientific evidence and aligning them with international regulations”.
Submissions are due 17 May 2016.
6. FSANZ publishes Amendment No. 161
FSANZ published Amendment No. 161 to the Food Standards Code on 22 February 2016. The amendments were made under the following applications and proposals:
•Application A1100, increasing the maximum permitted level of acesuplhame potassium in chewing gum in line with international regulations
•Application A1104, concerning the voluntary addition of various vitamins and minerals to nut-and seed-based beverages
•Proposal P1040, updating typographical and transcription errors in the revised Code
•Proposal M1013, updating Schedule 20 regarding maximum residue limits
The amendments form part of the revised Food Standards Code, which commenced on 1 March 2016.
7. FSANZ accepts Application A1126 – Pectins & Carrageenan as Processing Aids in Wine (Fining Agent)
FSANZ has accepted a new application A1126 to seek permissions for the use of pectins and carrageenan in Australian wine, following an administrative assessment by FSANZ. The application concerns the use of pectins and carrageenan as processing aids to remove heat-unstable proteins in wine.
Opportunities to comment will be available at a date set by FSANZ.