Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council Joint Communique 31 March 2005

Food Ministers agree to a range of policy initiatives

Page last updated: 21 November 2016

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council met in Adelaide today.

This was the sixth meeting of the Ministerial Council. As the body responsible for policy on the regulation of food in Australia and New Zealand, it made a number of important decisions.

Nutrition, Health and Related Claims - Regulation of Biomarker Maintenance Claims

The Ministerial Council did not alter its previous decision to regulate biomarker maintenance claims as high level claims. This means that biomarker maintenance claims will be subject to FSANZ assessment and approval prior to their use in the market place.

A New South Wales proposal for a streamlined process for considering biomarker maintenance claims will be considered as background information during a review of FSANZ Assessment and Approval Processes.

Review of FSANZ Assessment and Approval Process - Protection of Confidential Commercial Information and Timeliness

The Ministerial Council discussed the review being undertaken of the requirements for developing and approving national food standards.

The Council strongly endorses that the primary objectives of food regulation are to protect public health, provide information for consumer choice, and prevent misleading conduct. However, it is important that processes for developing food standards are efficient, and minimise the regulatory burden on the food industry.

Ministers agreed there are a number of impediments affecting Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s ability to expedite new or amended Standards, and to protect confidential commercial information.

The review will examine ways to streamline existing processes and strengthen protection of sensitive commercial information, within the ambit of the primary objectives for food regulation. The Council agreed that any changes, including changes to legislation, should be made as expeditiously as possible.

The results of the review and its recommendations will be presented to the Ministerial Council meeting in October 2005.

Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Consultative Mechanism

In April 2003, the Ministerial Council endorsed a mechanism for ensuring stakeholders have input to the development of policy on the regulation of food. This mechanism was designed to be flexible; it allows for consultation arrangements to be set according to the sensitivity or complexity of a particular issue. Ministers asked that the Consultative Mechanism be reviewed after 12 months of operation.

This review is now complete. The majority of participants suggested improvements to the current system, such as increased communication with stakeholders and earlier engagement in the policy development process.

The Ministerial Council is committed to increasing stakeholder participation and confidence in the policy development process. To this end, the Food Regulation Standing Committee will implement an Action Plan taking into account the findings of the Review.

The final report of the review is available on the Food Regulation web site at http://www.foodregulation.gov.au/.

Review of the intent of part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code - Special Purpose Foods

The Ministerial Council has agreed that FSANZ will conduct a review of the intent of part 2.9 of the Food Standards Code.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that part 2.9 of the Code is only used for those foods that are prepared for at-risk groups whose dietary requirements cannot always be satisfied by a normal diet. It should not apply to foods that are promoted and consumed as general foods.

Revised Principles and Protocols for the Development of Food Regulation Policy Guidelines

The Ministerial Council has completed a comprehensive review of the Principles and Protocols that govern the development of policy guidelines on the regulation of food.

These Principles and Protocols clarify the scope of policy guidelines, set out the process for their development, and define the roles of policy departments and regulatory agencies. They have been updated to reflect experience, and the outcomes of a stakeholder consultation forum held in March 2004.

The revised Principles and Protocols will be placed on the Food Regulation web site.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, Media Adviser, 0412 132 585 or +61 412 132 585 (NZ)

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