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The safe food system

(November 2016) 



Food policy

Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation

The food policy framework for Australia is set by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation which consists of health and agriculture ministers from the states and territories, and the Australian and New Zealand governments. Food standards are developed to reflect this policy framework.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for Australian Government policy and programs that support a globally competitive and sustainable Australian food industry.

Food standards 

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 

FSANZ develops the food standards in the Food Standards Code with advice from other government agencies and input from stakeholders. 

Food standards cover the use of ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins and minerals. They also cover the composition of some foods, such as dairy, meat and beverages as well as new technologies such as novel foods. We are also responsible for labelling for both packaged and unpackaged food, including specific mandatory warnings or advisory labels. 

Public input is an important part of our decision-making process. Get involved and have your say 

Enforcement 

Food standards are enforced by the states and territories (usually their health or human services departments) or, in some cases, by local government. These authorities regularly check food products for compliance with the Food Standards Code. 

You should contact your local state or territory heath authority if you think there is a problem with a food. The food industry also regularly monitors food production to ensure our food supply continues to be high quality and safe. 

The Imported Food Inspection Scheme is administered by the Departmen​t of Agriculture and Water Resources​. The department is responsible for inspecting and sampling imported food.  

Imported food must comply with the Imported Food Control Act 1992 which also requires imported food to comply with the Food Standards Code. 

The Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation 

Australian state and territory and New Zealand government agencies are responsible for implementing, monitoring and enforcing food regulation through their individual food Acts and other food-related legislation. These agencies vary between jurisdictions. The Department of Agriculture enforces the Food Standards Code at the border in relation to imported food. 
 
Food regulation authorities in Australia and New Zealand work together to ensure food regulations are implemented and enforced consistently. This work is done through the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR), through face-to-face meetings, out-of-session business and separate collaborations.

ISFR was set up by the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) to foster a consistent approach across jurisdictions to implementing and enforcing food regulation. Read more about ISFR

Surveillance 

FSANZ, along with other government agencies in Australia and New Zealand, monitors the food supply to ensure it is safe. FSANZ routinely conducts targeted surveys and Australian Total Diet Studies to collect analytical data on the levels of chemicals, microbiological contaminants and nutrients in food. FSANZ also plays a leading role in surveillance activities conducted through the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation.

Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA) and OzFoodNet

The Communicable Disease Network Australia and OzFoodNet monitor incidents and outbreaks of foodborne disease which can lead to the detection of an unsafe food product or unsafe food practice. 

Genetically modified crops  

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator regulates genetically modified (GM) organisms. If GM crops or animals are to be used in food then they must be approved by FSANZ

Pesticides and veterinary medicines 

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) places strict limits on agricultural and veterinary chemicals that can be used on crops and animals in Australia. The APVMA also sets withholding periods for when chemicals are used and when plants or animals can become part of the food supply. The APVMA can also make amendments to the FSANZ MRL standard for MRLs that are currently registered for use in Australia, following consultation with FSANZ about dietary exposure assessments. ​​​​​

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