FSANZ invites comment on proposed changes to food laws

Posted by Isobel Drake on 23rd September 2009

Australia’s food safety regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has today announced a number of proposed changes to current food laws and is welcoming the views of any individual or organisation.

The three changes under consideration concern the use of phytosterols in food and national food safety standards for eggs and egg products and for meat and meat products.

Exclusive use of phytosterol esters in reduced fat cheese products (Application A1019 – Assessment)
Kraft Foods has applied for approval to add phytosterol esters, derived from tall oil phytosterol esters, as a novel food ingredient in reduced-fat cheese. Kraft has requested exclusive use of this permission for a period of 15 months. Phytosterol esters are used to help consumers reduce blood cholesterol levels.

FSANZ said they hold “no safety, nutritional or efficacy concerns with such a permission and is considering approving the application”.

Primary production and processing standard for meat and meat products – Australia only (Proposal P1005 – 1st Assessment)
FSANZ has evaluated the hazards, current management practices and existing regulatory requirements for the meat industry in Australia and concluded that there are no unmanaged food safety risks for the major meat sectors. They are considering whether to incorporate the existing on-farm practices into regulatory requirements in the Food Standards Code or retain the current industry self-regulatory approach. In regard to meat processing, there is currently regulation in all states and territories; however, there is not a mechanism to review, update or change these regulatory requirements.

The food standards body has presented three management options to address these issues for scrutiny during the first of two rounds of public comment.

Primary production and processing standard for eggs and egg products – Australia only (Proposal P301 – Draft Assessment)
There is currently no national through-chain regulatory framework for food safety in the production of eggs. As a result, FSANZ is hoping to develop a primary production and processing standard that will reduce the incidence of food-borne illness from Salmonella in the egg supply chain.

“As there is an increased likelihood of cracked and dirty eggs containing Salmonella, FSANZ is proposing measures that include ensuring that cracked and dirty eggs are not sold as shell eggs and that all liquid egg (egg pulp) is treated to control Salmonella,” they advised. “We invite comment from interested parties on the above issues and also on a compliance plan developed by a group established by the Implementation Sub Committee.”

Submissions: FSANZ welcomes public comment from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers. Details of all the assessments above can be found on www.foodstandards.gov.au. Submissions should reach FSANZ by 11 November 2009 (A1019 ) and 25 November 2009 (P1005 and P301).