SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible developing the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code used to regulate food sold in Australia and New Zealand.
- Some of the standards FSANZ develops apply to Australia and New Zealand, others apply to Australia only.
- Food standards are enforced by Australian state and territory food regulatory agencies, the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (for imported food), and the New Zealand Government.
- FSANZ also has other functions in Australia including coordinating food surveillance and food recalls.
About Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)
is an Australian government agency that develops standards for food – known as the (the Code).
Parts one and 2 of the Code apply in both Australia and New Zealand. These parts regulate the use of ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins and minerals. They also cover the composition (make-up) of some foods and include standards for genetically modified foods.
FSANZ is also responsible for the labelling of both packaged and unpackaged food, including mandatory (legally required) warnings or advisory labels.
Parts 3 and 4 of the Code apply only in Australia. These parts regulate food safety standards, primary production and processing standards, and maximum residue limits for agricultural and veterinary chemicals. In New Zealand, these activities are undertaken by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.
The FSANZ Board decides whether or not to approve changes to the Code. These decisions are notified to Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation (the Food Ministers' Meeting). The Food Ministers' Meeting can adopt, make changes to or reject standards and can 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 food acts. The Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is responsible for enforcing food standards relating to imported food in Australia.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991
FSANZ operates under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. The objective of this Act is:
- to ensure a high standard of public health protection throughout Australia and New Zealand, including by:
- maintaining a high degree of consumer confidence in the quality and safety of food
- providing information to enable consumers to make informed choices
- promoting consistency between domestic and international food regulations.
Role of FSANZ
FSANZ is responsible for:
- developing food standards informed by the best available scientific evidence
- coordinating regulatory activities across the food regulation system, including coordination of food incident responses and food recalls
- providing advice to food regulators and food standards information to consumers.
Role of other agencies in maintaining food standards
FSANZ works with a number of government agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand. These include:
- state and territory government health departments and food regulatory agencies that enforce the Code
- the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which enforces the Code for 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
- the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.
Changing the Food Standards Code
Anyone can apply to change standards in the Code. FSANZ can also raise proposals to amend the Code if an important food safety issue arises.
The process for changing the Code includes:
- A new application or proposal is submitted to FSANZ.
- The application or proposal is assessed and an initial assessment report 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.
- The report may go out for another round of public comment. The comments received are analysed and changes made to the report if necessary.
- The FSANZ Board approves or rejects the final assessment report.
- The Food Ministers' Meeting is notified of the decision and if ministers do not request a review, the standard is gazetted (published) and incorporated into the 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.