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Food regulation in Australia and New Zealand

The food regulation system

The Australia and New Zealand joint food regulation system is made up of the laws, policies, standards and processes that we use to make sure our food is safe to eat. It is a complex system that involves all levels of the Australian and New Zealand governments with different roles being met by local, state/territory and national governments. The rigorous system reflects the many businesses and stakeholders in the food supply chain, providing a platform on which our food industries can operate, and enables safe food and choice for consumers.

The system consists of three major components:

The Forum meets regularly and outcomes of its meetings are published on the Food Regulation website. 

Consultations within the food regulatory system

It is widely recognised that better outcomes for food regulation are achieved by increased involvement and engagement with stakeholders. Input from a wide range of stakeholders including food businesses, industry groups, individuals and organisations, as well as public health and consumer groups are sought during evaluations, reviews and as part of policy and standard development. Consultations open for submissions at the state and national level will be listed below as opportunities arise.

There are currently no open consultations.

SA Health involvement in food regulation system activities

The department contributes to the activities of the Food Regulation System in a number of ways. This includes participation in national working groups and committees; providing advice and comment to FSANZ on the development of food standards; implementing agreed guidelines and policies; and, participation in nationally coordinated surveys and incident responses. Activities of particular note to South Australia are highlighted below.

Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+ (the Strategy)

The aim of the Strategy is to reduce the number of food-related human cases of Campylobacteriosis and Salmonellosis in Australia. Following extensive public consultation, the Strategy was endorsed by the Forum in June 2018.  To achieve its aims, the Strategy focuses on food safety culture, sector based initiatives (horticulture, poultry, eggs and food service), consumer and industry information, research, monitoring and surveillance, and national engagement.

Food safety culture

SA Health is leading a national project on food safety culture and raw or lightly-cooked egg foods. This project aims to build a shared understanding of food safety culture, trial guidance documents for potential national application, and increase commitment by food business operators to manage food safety risks associated with the preparation and use of raw or lightly-cooked egg foods, a major contributor to foodborne illness outbreaks across the state.

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

Health star rating system

The Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.

The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups and is currently jointly funded by Australian, state and territory governments. In June 2014, the Forum agreed that the system be implemented voluntarily over five years. The system is currently undergoing a formal review. Further information on this review can be found on the Health Star Rating website.

Labelling of sugar on packaged foods and drinks

The Forum is investigating labelling approaches for providing information on sugars to consumers. The FRSC facilitated a public stakeholder consultation on the labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks from July to September 2018. Stakeholders including industry, public health and consumer organisations and other interested parties were invited to make submissions on the consultation paper.

Health and Food Collaboration (the Collaboration)

This is a collaboration between FRSC and the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) established to identify opportunities for the Food Regulation System to support obesity prevention objectives. One key activity was the review of fast food menu labelling schemes. FRSC facilitated public and stakeholder engagement with industry, public health and consumer organisations, and relevant professional associations in February and March 2018. At its meeting on 29 June 2018, the Forum agreed that further targeted consultation is to be undertaken to develop policy options that aim to improve and strengthen fast food menu labelling in Australia. A broader range of stakeholders will be engaged in the next stage of consultation.

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