FSANZ considers Code changes on irradiation of vegetables and phytosterol cheese

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th May 2012

Australian government agency Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has assessed two new applications to change the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

One application is to allow irradiation of fresh tomato and fresh capsicum for quarantine purposes. A second application is to remove current restrictions on package sizes of low fat cheese enriched with phytosterol esters.

FSANZ said that an opportunity to comment on both applications will be available at a later date.

Proposal to allow irradiation of fresh tomato and fresh capsicum

Application A1069, which would allow processors to irradiate fresh tomato and fresh capsicum, was submitted to FSANZ by Queensland State Government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).

Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that might be present in the food. Further usages of irradiation include for sprout inhibition, delay of ripening, increase of juice yield, and improvement of re-hydration.

Food Standards Code Australia New Zealand currently permits the irradiation of fresh fruits for fruit fly quarantine purposes, amongst some others.

Restrictions on packaging size for phytosterol-enriched lower fat cheese

Application A1070, to remove current restrictions on package sizes of low fat cheese enriched with phytosterol esters, was submitted by global food company Kraft Foods.

Plant sterols are plant compounds with similar chemical structure and biological functions as cholesterol.

Plant sterols have only been used in food products since 1995 when a stanol-rich spread (a hydrogenated sterol not available in Australia) was introduced into Finland. Plant sterol-containing spreads were introduced into Australia over 10 years ago.

Permission to market plant sterols in low fat milks, low fat yoghurts and breakfast cereals was granted by FSANZ in November 2006 and products in the first category are widely available now. Approval to market phytosterol esters in cheese was granted by FSANZ in February 2010.