Understanding the food standards code

Page last updated: 21 November 2016

Understanding the Food Standards Code

Our joint Food Standards Code is developed and administered by FSANZ and includes the joint food standards for Australia and New Zealand covering
  • the microbiological safety of food;
  • the composition of food, including contaminants, residues, additives or other substances; and,
  • information about food, including labelling and advertising.
The Code also contains information on the purpose, interpretation and application of standards. These food standards generally apply to all foods produced or imported for sale in Australia and New Zealand (with regards to composition and labelling standards).

Interpreting the Food Standards Code can require some assistance. Industry and jurisdictions sometimes need to clarify and understand the meaning of the Code in order to make decisions. FSANZ currently assists by providing a Code Inquiry Service that receives over 3,000 enquiries a year. FSANZ can also direct enquiries to relevant jurisdictional agencies or the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for imported foods enquiries.

To provide industry with greater clarity around interpreting and complying with food standards ISFR uses the process that is set out in the integrated model to support standards development and promote consistent implementation of Primary Production and Processing Standards. Based on this model ISFR has developed the following implementation packages and guidelines: ISFR will continue to develop guidance materials as required.

To assist consumers and industry on who to contact about food complaints, ISFR has established the Home Jurisdiction Rule. The home jurisdiction is the state or territory in which a food business is based or, in the case of a national chain, where the home company’s head office is located. The home jurisdiction is responsible for investigating potential breaches of food legislation including complaints and undertaking any necessary compliance or enforcement action in relation to the business.

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