Current activities

Below are the current activities of the Food Regulation System. These activities are divided into the three key priorities:

  • Reducing foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella.
  • Supporting the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity.
  • Maintaining a strong, robust and agile Food Regulation System.

Page last updated: 01 July 2021

Food Regulation Priorities

2017-2021

Reducing foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella

Supporting the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity

Maintaining a strong, robust and agile food regulation system

The way we work

Clear goals and objectives

Clear roles for all committees and clear decision making points
Genuine, effective two way engagement

Full understanding of the issue (problem), risks, challenges and opportunities
Collection of evidence and information that informs understanding

A full range (whole of system) of policy options generated and evaluated
Implementation issues as a key consideration for policy
Using the best tools that achieve the desired outcome
Focus on achieving consistent outcomes

Government intervention only where there is a market failure-regulation is not the default position
Evaluate for impact and efficiency post implementation considered during development
Promoting the food system to improve stakeholders understanding and confidence

These activities are underpinned

Reducing foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella

NameObjectiveLead Authorisation Status
Reduction of foodborne illness. To reduce foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella, with a nationally-consistent approach. Work is being led by NSW Food Authority and Queensland Health, supported by a Priority 1 action leads group. Ministers at their 28 April 2017 meeting agreed to the development of a draft national strategy, to reduce foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella.

On the 24 November 2017, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) provided in principle support for the framework that outlines the vision, approach and objective for the national strategy for reducing foodborne illness in Australia.

The development of the associated national strategy commenced in early 2018. Consultation with industry, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the Public Health Laboratory Network, Communicable Diseases Network Australia and OzFoodNet was held between 12 February and 6 April 2018.

The Forum launched Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+ (the Strategy) at its meeting on 29 June 2018. FRSC has developed an extensive project plan, consisting of short-term and mid- to long-term projects, to give effect to the strategy.

The program of work to implement the Strategy was discussed at a joint meeting of FRSC and the AHPPC on 31 October 2018. Implementation of the strategy is well underway.

Details on the initial projects are outlined below:

The Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR) is conducting and scoping a number of projects that will support the Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+.

Identify arrangements that would need to be established to facilitate data sharing.

Work is being led by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) through the ISFR Data Sharing Working Group.

The Food Regulation Standing Committee at its meeting of 23 March 2018 agreed to three activities that support the Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+.

Principles to guide data sharing and a document illustrating how the challenges and barriers to data sharing can be addressed by the principles, have been developed. A data sharing framework has been prepared identifying data of interest to be shared and work is underway to develop a plan for stakeholder engagement. Regular OzFoodNet reports are being produced providing a summary of trend data associated with foodborne illness to support the Strategy.

Develop a shared understanding of food safety culture with a focus on raw egg products. The working group is led by SA Health through ISFR. The project focusses on building a shared understanding of food safety culture amongst food regulators and certain food business sectors using raw and lightly-cooked egg foods as a case study. Pilot work has commenced which involves trialling a package of resources (toolkit) on food safety culture, guidance on raw egg foods and a matrix to assess food safety culture maturity within a food business.

A. Campylobacter attribution study and implementation of research outcomes.

B. Nationally consistent implementation of poultry process hygiene criteria in Australian processing facilities.

A: Outcomes reported through the ISFR Data Sharing Working Group.

B: Led by the Australian Meat Regulators Group (NSW Chair) through ISFR.

This National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership project aims to apply genomics, epidemiology and source attribution modelling to identify locally-relevant risk factors and sources to reduce human illness from Campylobacter in Australia. Sampling and whole genome analysis is now complete; and final analysis of results is underway.
All jurisdictions are participating in the national implementation of poultry process hygiene criteria in production and processing facilities, enabling performance reporting and consistent triggers for action.

 

Nationally consistent implementation and compliance of the Primary Production and Processing Standard for eggs and egg products

 

 

National approach to the recall of eggs

ISFR

 

 

 

 

 

Led by Queensland

The Food Regulation Standing Committee at its May 2018 meeting and the Forum June 2018 meeting agreed to this work to support Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+.

 

Guidance for Food Regulatory Agencies – the Recall of Shell Eggs was endorsed at ISFR16, August 2019.

Initial draft with revisions to the national compliance plan for Primary Production and Processing Standard for eggs and egg products has been prepared.

 

 

 

 

The Guidance for Food Regulatory Agencies – the Recall of Shell Eggs has been completed.

 

To develop an implementation package for the consistent implementation for any Primary Production and Processing Requirements for high risk horticulture that may be developed by FSANZ under proposal P1052 -Primary Production and Processing Requirements for high-risk horticulture.

ISFR Implementation Working Group for Primary Production and Processing Requirements for high-risk horticulture led by NSW.

In June 2018 the Forum wrote to FSANZ to request work to commence, and ISFR formed a working group to develop an implementation package.

FSANZ has raised Proposal P1052 – Primary Production and Processing Requirements for high-risk horticulture. An ISFR Horticulture Implementation Working Group has been established to support the Integrated Model for Standards Development and Consistent Implementation.

 

Identify and consider potential options to address implementation matters associated with FSANZ Proposal P1053 - Food Safety Management Tools relating to the general food service and closely related retail sectors.

ISFR Food Safety Management Implementation Working Group co-led by SA Health and Qld Health.

In June 2018 the Forum wrote to FSANZ to request work to commence, and ISFR formed a working group to develop an implementation package.

FSANZ has raised Proposal P1053 – Food Safety Management Tools. An ISFR Food Safety Management Implementation Working Group has been established to support the Integrated Model for Standards Development and Consistent Implementation and is working with FSANZ to develop the draft standard and implementation user guide.

Supporting the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity

Name Objective Lead Authorisation Status

Options for improving the composition of the food supply.

Explore options to improve the composition and healthfulness of the food supply in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Government Department of Health and New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.

In August 2019 the Forum agreed to a program of activities of the Food Regulation System to contribute towards reducing chronic disease related to obesity.

This work has passed Gateway 1. The next step is to describe the desired outcome.

A policy paper was developed that explored issues such as current key nutrient intakes in Australia and New Zealand, foods or food categories which are major contributors of those nutrients, and potential food categories or nutrients where population health would benefit if action were taken to improve food composition. Consideration was also given to current voluntary approaches in Australia and New Zealand to improving food composition, and international approaches that have been implemented. The policy paper identified trans fats and sugar sweetened beverages as possible case studies to improve the composition of the food supply by progressing work through the Food Regulation Policy Framework.

Reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink advertising and marketing.

Develop options to strengthen restrictions on advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks to children.

Australian Government Department of Health.

In August 2019 the Forum agreed to a program of activities for the Food Regulation System to contribute towards reducing chronic disease related to obesity.

This work is in the scoping and planning phase. A policy paper is being drafted, exploring the current regulatory mechanisms, and children’s current exposure to advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks. Consideration is also being given to opportunities to partner with other regulators, scope of the work and international approaches on this topic.

Explore data opportunities.

To explore data available to inform, monitor and evaluate work in Priority two.

TBC.

In August 2019 Forum agreed to a program of activities for the Food Regulation System to contribute towards reducing chronic disease related to obesity.

STEP A.

Scoping and planning phase.

Menu Board Labelling

Nationally consistent menu board labelling.

Queensland Department of Health

In August 2019 the Forum agreed that nationally consistent menu labelling is desirable for the food industry, public health organisations and governments. Ministers agreed the most effective way for this to occur would be to develop a food regulatory measure under the Food Standards Code and that development of a Ministerial Policy Guideline should be the first step.

This work is currently at the stage of developing options. A Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement was developed and approved by FRSC in October 2020. Consultation took place in early 2021. Additional information can be found online.

Clarify the policy issue in relation to naming sources of fats and oils.

Undertake work to clarify the policy issue in relation to naming sources of fats and oils, and the next steps to provide adequate information to enable consumers to make informed choices in support of dietary guidelines.

New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries

Forum 25 November 2016.

In April 2017 the Forum agreed to extend the scope of this project to cover all parts of the food label, including the identification of all fats and oils.

This work is currently on hold.

The following activities under Stage 1 have been completed:

  • research in Australia that includes identifying consumers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to the labelling of fats and oils. This work is being commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health as part of wider consumer study on food labelling;
  • literature review on consumers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to the labelling of fats and oils by FSANZ;
  • identification of international approaches to fats and oils labelling;
  • a paper on the policy context relating to fats and oils in Australia and New Zealand; and
  • engagement with targeted stakeholders on fats and oils labelling.

In 2020, the National Health and Medical Research Council provided advice on current consumer messaging and understanding of fats and oils, and opportunities to promote better understanding and healthier eating patterns. A number of the recommendations will be considered as part of the review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Commercial foods for early childhood

To determine what actions could be undertaken in the Food Regulation System to improve commercial infant and toddler foods.

Australian Government Department of Health

In November 2020 the Forum agreed for FRSC to consider and determine what actions could be explored in the Food Regulation System to improve commercial infant and toddler foods.

This work is in the scoping and planning phase. Initial analysis has been undertaken exploring the current regulatory environment for infant foods in Australia and New Zealand, comparison with international guidelines for infant feeding, and products sold for infants and toddlers domestically in Australia.

Maintaining a strong, robust and agile Food Regulation System

Name Objective Lead Authorisation Status

COVID-19.

Coordinate and develop answers to commonly asked question that relate to food and COVID-19.

Ms Fay Jenkins, South Australia Health and Dr Lisa Szabo, NSW Food Authority, are leading this work on behalf of FRSC.

FRSC meeting 2 April 2020

The FRSC Group established on 2 April 2020 is working with technical and communication experts to develop answers to commonly asked question that relate to food and COVID-19.

Maintain a strong Food Regulation System.

Implement the ambitious plan to reform the Bi-national Food Regulation System to ensure it remains strong, robust and agile into the future.

Ms Maria Gracie, New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and Ms Angela Brierley, Agriculture Victoria, are leading this work on behalf of FRSC. Project work is being led by FRSC members.

On the 28 April 2017 the Forum agreed the 2017 – 2021 priorities for the Food Regulation System.

On 15 November 2019 the Forum endorsed an ambitious plan to reform the Bi-national Food Regulation System.

Implementation of the reform agenda is being progressed via three-interconnected activities:

  • Review of the operations of the Food Regulation System;
  • Facilitating Jurisdictional Consistency;
  • Review of the Intergovernmental Food Regulation Agreement (FRA).

Separately, but in close collaboration, the Australian Government is undertaking a review of the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act).

Review of the operations of the Food Regulation System.

To review the operational processes of the Food Regulation System including roles and responsibilities of the various governance groups, triage system, interactions with other relevant government forums, prioritisation of work, resourcing and record keeping to improve its agility and responsiveness.

New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, on behalf of FRSC.

On the 28 April 2017 the Forum agreed the 2017 – 2021 priorities for the Food Regulation System.

Scoping and planning phase.

Facilitating Jurisdictional Consistency.

To increase national consistency in areas of the
Food Regulation System that will result in cost savings for industry and
governments.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • identify key areas that would most benefit from improved consistency of food regulatory approaches across jurisdictions, and
  • develop options to improve jurisdictional consistency in the identified areas.

Safe Food Production Qld (SFPQ) and Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), on behalf of FRSC.

On the 28 April 2017 the Forum agreed the 2017 – 2021 priorities for the Food Regulation System.

Work is underway to explore suitable contemporary regulatory models that could facilitate greater jurisdictional consistency.

A consultation entitled ‘Consistency of food regulatory approaches’ was made available for public submissions on 6 November 2020, and closed on 18 December 2020. The consultation sought stakeholder advice on areas of inconsistency in food regulatory approaches and the impact this has on businesses and regulatory outcomes. Information from submissions will be used to identify priority areas that would benefit most from reform.

Review of the Intergovernmental Food Regulation Agreement (FRA).

Stage 1: Describe a vision for the future of the Food Regulation 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 Regulation System.

SA Health and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), on behalf of FRSC.

On the 28 April 2017 the Forum agreed the 2017 – 2021 priorities for the Food Regulation System.

Scoping and planning phase.

Work is underway for Stage 1 of the project. Consultation on the aspirations for the Food Regulation System opened on 23 November 2020 and closed on 22 January 2021. A report on the consultation outcome is currently being prepared for the Forum.

Improved Intelligence in the Food Regulation System.

Develop a system for the ongoing purposeful gathering of information, data and evidence (collectively intelligence) for use by the entire Food Regulation System.

Mr Mike Lindsay, WA Health and Ms Lynne Turner, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are co- leading this work on behalf of FRSC.

On 5 September 2019 FRSC agreed on the process that will be used to progress this work.

Improved intelligence gathering was identified at the FRSC workshop held in Melbourne on 12 February 2019, as a medium to longer term activity.

 

In September 2019, FRSC agreed an integrated process for gathering, collating, analysing and sharing of intelligence. The intent is for the process to start small and to be grown gradually.
A working group has been established to progress this work.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the Food Regulation System.

Develop and implement a Performance Measurement Framework for the Food Regulation System.

Ms Lynne Turner (Qld) and Ms Tracy Ward (NT) are leading this work on behalf of FRSC.

On 30 May 2019, FRSC agreed a project proposal for this work.

The proposal to develop a Performance Measurement Framework for the Food Regulation System was identified at the FRSC workshop held in Melbourne on 12 February 2019, as a medium to longer term activity.

During 2019, FRSC worked with a Consultant to develop a common understanding and approach to performance measurement and develop a collection of draft performance indicators that could be used.

The below projects are not aligned with the priorities but will be completed

Name Objective Lead Authorisation Status

Audit of Policy Guidelines and policy statements.

To conduct an audit of the current suite of relevant Policy Guidelines and Policy Statements to maximise consideration given in these documents to obesity prevention and healthy eating.

TBC.

In August 2019 the Forum agreed to a program of activities under Priority two of the Food Regulation System to contribute towards reducing chronic disease related to obesity.

The audit is expected to commence in 2021.

Health Claims – addressing concerns raised in association with Standards 1.2.7

Explore concerns regarding implementation andenforcement of self-substantiated general level health claims under of Standard 1.2.7 of the Code.

FRSC is leading thiswork.

FRSC, at its meeting on 22 September 2017 requested that ISFR provide a report on any outstanding issues arising from the implementation of Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, Health and Related Claims and any related policy issue.

Scoping and planning phase.

Guidance for enforcement agencies on caffeine.

To develop guidance materials on the regulation of products containing pure or high concentrations of caffeine and high caffeine content products for enforcement agencies to inform compliance action.

This work is being led by ISFR.

In July 2019 Ministers Colbeck and Hunt requested FSANZ to prepare a report on the safety of caffeine powders and high caffeine content products.

A working group has been established by FRSC to undertake this work.

Misleading descriptions for food.

Explore policy guidance on the issue of misleading descriptions for food.

Ms Christel Leemhuis, Australian Government Department of Health, is leading this work on behalf of FRSC.

Forum – 15 November 2019.

Misleading descriptions of food

In August 2019, the Forum resolved on a majority (but not unanimous basis) that plant-based foods mimicking animal-based foods are adequately regulated under the current labelling requirements and consumer and fair trading laws.

Synthetic Foods

Ministers recognised the value of the meat and dairy sector to the Australian and New Zealand, diet and economy, but also recognised the growing value of the alternative products sector and agreed that both have a place in the market for consumers.

Ministers discussed the issue of ‘synthetic’ or laboratory-based products including animal cells grown in a culture rather than products from animals raised on a farm.
Ministers asked FRSC for its consideration of regulatory and labelling issues relating to these foods, with a view to developing a policy guideline to adequately differentiate ‘synthetic’ animal products from their natural or conventional equivalents.

Sport supplement products safety.

Enhance consumer safety in relation to sports supplement products.

Ms Christel Leemhuis, Australian Government Department of Health, is leading this work on behalf of FRSC.

The Australian Government Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP wrote to FRSC in June 2018.

Proposal P1010 has been formally prepared following a request from the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in October 2018 to review Standard 2.9.4 – Formulated supplementary sports foods. This request follows a Round table on sports supplements convened in July 2018 by the Australian Government Department of Health on behalf of the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC).

FRSC is continuing to monitor the issue into 2020.

Low Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Hemp as Food.

To monitor implementation of legislative changes required to allow the sale of Low THC Hemp Seeds as Food, and identify issues to be resolved to successfully implement changes to the Food Standards Code.

A working group has been established by FRSC to undertake this work.

Forum – April 2017.

The working group has been established and is due to report to FRSC periodically.

FRSC, at its meeting on 22 September 2017, agreed that the coordination of surveillance and monitoring activities relating to compliance with the Code in relation to low THC hemp seeds as food should also be included in the next work program of ISFR as a proactive initiative.