Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is a bi-national government agency. FSANZ’s main responsibility is to develop and administer the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is a bi-national government agency that develops and administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
The Code regulates the use of ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins and minerals. It also covers the composition of some foods and includes standards for genetically modified foods. FSANZ is also responsible for labelling for both packaged and unpackaged food, including mandatory warnings or advisory labels.
In Australia, FSANZ also prepares primary production and processing standards, and sets chemical residue limits for agricultural and veterinary products. In New Zealand, these activities are undertaken by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.
FSANZ also takes part in devising international food standards and policies. The FSANZ Board approves each stage of the process before giving final approval for changes to be incorporated into the Food Standards Code.
The Legislative and Governance Food Regulation Forum is comprised of food and health ministers from Australian state and territory governments and the Australian and New Zealand governments. The forum develops domestic food regulatory policy and policy guidelines for setting domestic food standards. It also has the capacity to adopt, amend or reject standards and to ask FSANZ to review its decisions.
Food standards enforcement
Food standards are enforced by Australian state and territory governments and the New Zealand Government through their individual Food Acts.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991
FSANZ operates under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. The main objectives of this Act are to:
- Protect public health and safety
- Provide adequate information about food to help consumers make informed choices and to prevent fraud and deception
- Prevent misleading and deceptive conduct.
Role of FSANZ
FSANZ's role is to protect the health and safety of people in Australia and New Zealand by maintaining a safe food supply.
FSANZ is responsible for:
- Developing and amending standards for food manufacturing, labelling and processing
- Developing standards for primary production (Australia only)
- Providing information to consumers to enable better consumer choice
- Coordinating national food surveillance, enforcement and food recall (Australia only)
- Conducting consumer and industry research
- Undertaking dietary exposure modelling and scientific risk assessments
- Providing risk assessment advice on imported food (Australia only).
The role of other agencies in maintaining food standards
In Australia, FSANZ works with all state and territory health departments and other Australian Government agencies including:
- The state and territory government health departments or food regulatory agencies that enforce the Food Standards Code
- The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Biosecurity (DAFF Biosecurity), which enforces the Food Standards Code on imported foods
- The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which regulates the use of therapeutic goods, including medications
- The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), which is responsible for approving agricultural and veterinary chemicals for use.
Changing the Food Standards Code
Any organisation or individual can apply to FSANZ to change standards in the Food Standards Code. FSANZ can also raise proposals to amend the code if an important food safety issue arises. The process for changing the code is outlined below:
- A new application or proposal is submitted to FSANZ.
- The application or proposal is assessed, and an initial assessment report is produced. This is cleared by the FSANZ Board and goes out for public comment.
- Public comment is analysed and an assessment report is prepared, which includes a scientific risk assessment.
- This assessment report is approved by the FSANZ Board.
- Another round of public comment may be sought, and these comments are analysed and amendments made to the report if necessary.
- The FSANZ Board approves or rejects the final assessment report.
- The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation is notified of the decision and if ministers do not request a review, the standard is gazetted (published) and is incorporated into the Food Standards Code.
- Once approved, any new standard or variation to a standard is adopted by Australian states and territories and by New Zealand authorities and becomes part of food legislation.
Where to get help
- FSANZ’s Canberra office Tel. (02) 6271 2222
Things to remember
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) main responsibility is to develop and administer the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
- FSANZ works with all stakeholders on new standards, including the Australian state and territory and New Zealand governments.
- State and territory governments and the New Zealand Government, along with DAFF Biosecurity (for imported food) are responsible for enforcing the code.
You might also be interested in:
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
(Logo links to further information)
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: December 2011
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
For the latest updates and more information, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Copyight © 1999/2013 State of Victoria. Reproduced from the Better Health Channel (www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au) at no cost with permission of the Victorian Minister for Health. Unauthorised reproduction and other uses comprised in the copyright are prohibited without permission.