In November 2019 the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation endorsed an ambitious plan to reform the Bi-national Food Regulation System to ensure it remains strong, robust and agile into the future. A key element underpinning the reform agenda is the review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act).
The FSANZ Act Review commenced in July 2020, and is a comprehensive examination of the effectiveness of the FSANZ Act and the associated operations and responsibilities of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The FSANZ Act is Australian legislation and underpins the Australia New Zealand Joint Food Regulatory System within which New Zealand participates as a partner under the bilateral Food Treaty.
Extensive stakeholder consultation has been undertaken, including public consultation on a Scoping Paper across October and November 2020 and targeted workshops with key government, industry, public health and consumer bodies. The consultations have informed the development of a draft Regulatory Impact Statement which presented three reform options for the FSANZ Act.
Option 1 the status quo proposed no legislative changes to the FSANZ Act, while Option 2 and 3 present increasingly ambitious suites of measures that could be taken to amend the FSANZ Act.
Stakeholders were asked for their views on the draft Regulatory Impact Statement and to provide feedback to characterise the impact of the proposed options. It should be noted that the options were presented without prejudice and did not represent agreed positions of any government in Australia and New Zealand.
The consultation on the draft Regulatory Impact Statement opened on 6 April and closed on 18 May 2021. Submissions were made through the Australian Government Department of Health Consultation Hub.
The data, commentary and information received through this consultation will be analysed to inform a final Regulatory Impact Statement, which will be used to inform any amendments to the FSANZ Act.
The ambitious plan to reform the Bi-national Food Regulation System also consists of three other projects (see Modernisation of the Food Regulation for more information). These projects are being progressed in parallel to develop a new, best practice regulatory, legislative and operational basis for the system. As part of the Review of the Food Regulation Agreement project, draft Aspirations for the Food Regulation System have been developed and were made available for this consultation. Stakeholders were also asked to consider how the reform options for the FSANZ Act align with the draft Aspirations for the Food Regulatory System.