Slow progress on official “health claims” food standard for Australia and New Zealand, but decisions on the way

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th October 2011

Despite some 10 years in the making, Australia and New Zealand still cannot expect the official food standard for permitted health claims in relation to food until at least 2012.

Speaking at the FoodLegal Symposium “Healthy Bodies of Law” in Sydney yesterday, Dean Stockwell the General Manager of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and Chair of its Standards Development Advisory Committee, admitted the existing prohibitions on health claims were “confusing” and “ambiguous” especially with regard to nutrient function and functional food property claims.

He said that FSANZ was required to take its latest proposed redraft of the new Health Claims Standard 1.2.7 (Proposal P293) to the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in December 2011 following a prior review by the FSANZ Standards Development Committee and the FSANZ Board.

Providing all goes to plan, industry could be hopeful for the new standard for health claims to be approved by the Ministerial Council in early 2012. In reply to a question, Mr Stockwell added that no further public consultation process was to be expected.

He said the health claims standard review will have taken note of the Blewett Panel’s Report “Labeling Logic” released in January 2011, which highlighted widespread issues with food labelling including misleading health claims.