Ministers confirm progress on Front-of pack, Caffeine regulation, and Country of Origin labelling
A range of food agenda items were discussed on December 7, 2012 when Australian and New Zealand food Ministers met to give the nod of approval to the Health Claims Standard, which Australian Food News has reported separately.
Food Ministers noted good progress made on the development of an Australian interpretive front-of-pack labelling system for food that would be easily understood by consumers. This initiative was a key priority arising from the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation Forum’s response to the food labelling report, led by Dr Neal Blewett.
The collaborative process with key stakeholders will continue in order to develop the system by mid June 2013. Although not yet agreed on what type of front-of-pack labelling will be implemented, it is agreed that it is an important project that aims to “help consumers to make more informed food choices.”
Consultation on addition of caffeine to foods
The ministers also noted progress on the review of the Policy Guideline on the Addition of Caffeine to Foods that is underway. Public consultation on the Policy Guideline is expected to commence in March 2013.
Country of Origin labels for unpackaged meat
The ministers agreed to an Australian standard on country of origin labelling to include all unpackaged meat products. Implementation documentation should clarify that a business can comply with the requirement by displaying a single sign for Australian product with imported product specifically labelled.
Low THC Hemp
The ministers have sought a review on the proposed standard for low THC hemp as a food. Ministers have agreed to seek advice from the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Services.