Recently the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda was launched by the Prime Minister.
Although the food industry in general has supported the idea, there are concerns about how far red tape cuts which will be part of the Agenda should go, so that food safety and Australia’s reputation for it is protected.
The Agenda is an important part of the Economic Action Strategy of the Government
Red tape are government documents, requirements and processes, which may be seen as slowing down business and it’s growth. It has long been recognised that cutting through some of this can improve business efficiency and growth.
Therefore nearly every government at every level worldwide has a commitment to reduce red tape.
The difficulty is that to remove these processes, requirements and documents may not improve business efficiency but might actually weaken it.
This is what has some food industry people questioning. Just because a certain standard is acceptable in another country or internationally, does not mean that it should automatically become what we do in Australia.
Australia is recognised as having one of the best standards of food safety in the world. So the question is how much red tape related to food safety can be removed whilst continuing to maintain that enviable position.
To try to address the concerns and still reduce the red tape, the Government has now decided that if a product, system, service or process has undergone assessment and been approved under a recognised international standard or risk assessment process, then there should be no additional approval requirements required in Australia, unless there is a good reason for doing so.
The Agenda does not specifically mention Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which is the food safety regulator for both Australia and New Zealand. This may mean that this decision does not specifically relate to food.
Written by Rachelle Williams, The Green Food Safety Coach.