The Forum Members are the decision makers in the system. The Forum signs off on all food standards and can also request that a draft standard be developed, reviewed, amended or rejected. Prior to 2011, the Forum was known as the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (or Ministerial Council).
Forum membership is designed to reflect the whole-of-food chain approach to food regulation. Members include the following:
- Minister from New Zealand
- Ministers from the Australian Government
- Health Ministers from the Australian States and Territories
- Ministers from related portfolios (Primary Industries, Consumer Affairs) where they have been nominated by their jurisdictions
- The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), who participates as an observer.
The Forum has two distinct roles as a decision maker. It must carry out its responsibilities as outlined above, and also is required to be the system arbitrator. To do this, the Forum must balance food regulation in the bi-national interest with potentially competing views from consumers, from industry and from itself.
Wherever possible, the Forum makes its decisions by consensus. If this is not possible, the Forum can resolve matters by voting. Each of the ten governments has one vote, and six votes are required for a decision. Each jurisdiction has a lead Minister for voting purposes.
The Chair of the Forum is a health minister responsible for the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Act. The Forum is required to meet face-to-face at least once every calendar year.
The Forum is supported by The Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC), a sub-committee that provides policy advice to the Forum. The Food Regulation Secretariat provides secretariat services to the Forum and its sub-committees.