In August 2019, the Australia and New Zealand Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) agreed to a suite of activities to support public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity. One of these activities was for the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) to explore options for improving the composition of the food supply.
At the Forum meeting on 27 November 2020, ministers were provided with a Policy Paper prepared by FRSC. The Policy Paper considered food and nutrient intakes, the composition of the food supply, and current actions to improve food composition underway in Australia, New Zealand and internationally.
The Policy Paper identified that voluntary activities are in place in Australia and New Zealand to improve food composition to support public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity. The Forum recognised the importance of voluntary initiatives in the first instance, unless there is a demonstrated need to consider regulatory measures.
However, the Forum noted that FRSC had identified two topics where there are limitations in current voluntary actions to improve food composition - sugary drinks and trans fats. These could be used as case studies to consider regulatory and non regulatory options to improve the composition of the food supply by progressing work through the Food Regulation Policy Framework.
The Forum also noted there are no organised voluntary reformulation activities in the quick service/fast food sector and for meat alternatives. The Forum agreed that reformulation targets should be established in these categories (sodium, sugar and saturated fat as appropriate for the quick service/fast food sector and sodium for meat alternatives).