FSANZ seeks feedback on possible food law changes

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 7th July 2008

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released details of two possible changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code- regulations that govern the sale of food in Australia and New Zealand.

FSANZ is inviting individuals or organisations with an interest in food matters to comment on applications from industry to change the definition of ‘wine-based beverage’ and to allow the use of an enzyme derived from a genetically modified source.

Definition of ‘wine-based beverage’: (Initial assessment can be seen here)

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) is concerned that the current definition of ‘wine product’ can be misleading to consumers when used in combination with labelling the country of origin. The WFA is proposing that FSANZ amend the Food Standards Code to define the term ‘wine based beverage’, to declare ‘wine based beverage’ as a prescribed name for all products not meeting the definition of wine and to delete the definition for ‘wine product’.

Asparaginase from Aspergillus nigeras a processing aid (enzyme): (Initial Assessment can be found here)

DSM Nutritional Products has applied for permission to use asparaginase, sourced from a genetically modified strain of Aspergillus niger, as a processing aid in food production to reduce the formation of the chemical acrylamide. All processing aids must receive pre-market approval before they can be used in food production. To be approved, the manufacturer must demonstrate that asparaginase from this source can be technologically justified as a processing aid and must raise no public health and safety concerns.

Submissions: FSANZ welcomes public comment from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers. Submissions can be provided up until July 16. Go to www.food standards.gov.au for more information.

FSANZ has also announced their new Chair for the coming four years – a former Commonwealth Ombudsman, Philippa Smith AM.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, reported today that Ms Smith would be taking over the position vacated by the inaugural Chair, Rob Knowles.

“In agreement with the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Philippa Smith AM as the new Chair of the FSANZ board,” Senator McLucas said. “Ms Smith has had a high-profile career covering wide-ranging roles including those of Commonwealth Ombudsman, and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia. She has a strong governance, accountability and ethics background, which complements her continued involvement at a high level in federal and state health bodies representing health consumer and general consumer issues.”

It was also announced that former New Zealand MP Dianne Yates would be the replacement for retiring Board member Owen Symmans.