Food Regulation Standing Committee Roundtable Final Communiqué 8 October 2019

Food Regulation Standing Committee Roundtable Communiqué 8 October 2019

Page last updated: 16 December 2019

Food Regulation Standing Committee Roundtable Final Communiqué 8 October 2019 (PDF 317 KB)

The FRSC held a Roundtable meeting on 8 October 2019 in Sydney. The meeting was chaired by Mr Jim Dodds (Safe Food Production Queensland), Ms Maria Gracie (New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries) and Dr Lisa Studdert, Acting FRSC Chair (Australian Government Department of Health). Invitees included consumer and public health groups, food industry and food regulators from around Australia and New Zealand.

These meetings provide stakeholder organisations with the opportunity to strengthen relationships with FRSC Members, share information and improve visibility of activities that are being progressed within the Food Regulation System.

During the meeting Roundtable Members (Members) considered the current work activities within the Food Regulation System and shared information on emerging issues in their sectors and jurisdictions.

Members were provided with an update on current activities progressing within the Food Regulation System under the priority areas.

  • Within priority 1 - Reducing foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella, Members noted the significant work being undertaken to reduce foodborne illness in Australia and New Zealand including improving traceability in horticulture and working with OzFoodNet to monitor progress of Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2020+.
  • Within priority 2 - Supporting the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity, Members noted key actions in this area include completion of a policy paper on sugars labelling, the five-year review report for the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, and work on a consistent approach to menu board labelling.
  • Members also noted that a program of work under Priority 2 had recently been approved by Ministers. This program of work includes exploration of activities relating to compositional limits, working with partners to consider advertising to children and the development of a Policy Guideline to support consumers to make informed decisions in relation of the recommendations in the dietary guidelines.
  • Priority 3 - Maintaining a strong, robust and agile Food Regulation System, Members engaged in a discussion about the elements of a modern Food Regulatory System.

Members shared updates on emerging issues. These included:
  • consumer concerns in relation to food packaging and food waste and subsequent changes in consumer and industry behaviour, for example increasing use of reusable containers. Members noted the potential impact of this trend in relation to Priority 1 (i.e. foodborne illness) and how this work could be supported by work under Priority 2 (addressing over consumption). A major issue identified was the need for better coordination across portfolio agencies;
  • the value of food processing in the general food supply; and
  • better managing the food safety risks in aged care facilities, improving choice and reducing malnutrition.

Members also received an update on the FRSC options paper Misleading Descriptions of Food. An update was also provided on work underway in Australia and New Zealand in relation to highly concentrated and pure caffeine products.

Members engaged in discussion about measuring performance of the Food Regulation System and shared ideas in relation to what success would look like, and how to measure success, responsiveness and agility of the Food Regulation System. Members noted the complexities in measuring performance in the Food Regulation System given that the System does not operate in isolation.

A number of presentations were also provided to Members by Food Frontier on plant based foods, Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) on modern Food Regulatory Systems and the Lantern Project on nationally consistent approaches to food safety and nutrition in aged care. These presentations generated good discussion from all Members including the role of the Food Regulatory System in each of these areas..

Next Meeting

The next meeting is to be confirmed.

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