Modernisation of the food regulation system

Page last updated: 23 November 2020

On 15 November 2019, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation endorsed an ambitious plan to reform the bi-national Food Regulation System (the System) to ensure it remains strong, robust and agile into the future.

This decision reflects the knowledge that the System is operating in a complex operating environment with changing consumer expectations and significant technological advancements. The Forum consider that the time is right for a fundamental examination of the way the System works and has endorsed a strategic plan that will be used to guide reforms to the System. The strategic plan includes pursuing new institutional and legislative foundations for the System.

The Forum recognises that governments, industry, consumers and public health advocates in both countries play an important role in the System. All relevant stakeholders will be engaged in this reform process.

Collaboration Across Reform Projects

The reform agenda is being progressed via three interconnected sub-projects. Separately, but in close collaboration, the Australian Government is undertaking a review of the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act). See Table below.

This is a comprehensive reform agenda. The work will be progressed in lockstep to develop a cohesive, modernised regulatory, legislative and operational basis for the System.

Table: The four projects progressing the reform agenda and their objectives.

Review of the Food Regulation Agreement

Stage 1: Describe a vision for the future of the food regulatory system to provide strategic direction for reform and feed into Stage 2. 

Stage 2:Review the Food Regulation Agreement (FRA) to create a new foundational document to underpin the food regulatory system. 

Jurisdictional Consistency

Identify key areas of inconsistency in food regulatory approaches based on the impacts on industry and government.

Operations Review

Develop and implement new operational processes to support the system’s governance. 

FSANZ Act Review

Review the effectiveness of the FSANZ Act and the operations and responsibilities of FSANZ.

The Terms of Reference for the FSANZ Act Review were agreed to in July 2020.

FSANZ Act Review - Terms of Reference (PDF 188 KB)
FSANZ Act Review - Terms of Reference (Word 27 KB)

A key element underpinning the reform agenda is the development of a policy vision for the future which will inform a comprehensive review of the FSANZ Act and the FRA.

The reform agenda will be cognisant of the Food Treaty (the agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand concerning a joint food standards system) and bilateral engagement relating to potential changes to the FSANZ Act and FRA. There may also be consideration of state regulations under the jurisdictional consistency project, noting that these regulations are the prerogative of state governments.

Stakeholder Views

System reforms have been welcomed by stakeholders and consultation is essential. It is anticipated there will be several coordinated approaches to consultation, including via a submission process and more targeted conversations on specific proposals that might impact industry. Engagement is expected throughout the end of 2020 and in early 2021.

Privacy and Confidentiality

A summary of stakeholder views will be published for each public consultation.

Stakeholders should note that the submissions and findings of each consultation will be used to inform other consultations where appropriate and will be shared amongst the government organisations, officers and consultants working on these separate projects.

Current Consultations

Consultations currently open for submissions are available on the consultations page.

More information

If you have any questions please contact FoodRegulation Modernisation.

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