Latest Regulatory Affairs Newsletter

A collection of regulatory news from this month.

Free-Range Hens Can Now be Stocked up to 10,000 Birds per Hectare but Choice Cries Foul

The five-year wait for a national standard on free-range eggs stocking density is over with the Federal Government announcing new laws. Any eggs labelled "free range" will require a stocking density outdoors of 10,000 hens or fewer per hectare. But consumer group Choice said it was disappointed with the new standards and vowed to maintain its recommendation to "boycott" densely stocked farmed eggs at the supermarkets.   Source: ABC News Free-range eggs

ACCC Issues Guidelines on Country of Origin Claims

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission notes that under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), certain food products offered or suitable for retail sale will be required to display country of origin information. The ACL doesn’t require non-food products to carry country of origin labelling, although other laws may do so. All businesses, whether they are legally required or choose to display country of origin labelling, are prohibited from making false or misleading representations or engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct about the origin of goods (both food and non-food).    Source: Country of Origin labelling    See also related New Zealand ruling: NZ CoOL

Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation Communiqué

The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation is responsible for maintaining a strong food regulation system that is based on scientific evidence and expertise and is focused on protecting the health and safety of consumers. Ministers recently discussed a range of food regulation issues, including finalising their investigation into low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp seeds as a food. They also discussed the latest updates on food labelling of sugar and fats and oils and released the two year progress review report on the implementation of the Health Star Rating system.    Source: Aust-NZ Communique

Hemp Brings New Hope for NSW

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair has welcomed a decision today to approve low THC hemp for sale as food, by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.    Source: Food hemp.   See also, SMH Hemp for food

Why the Health Star Rating System is Flawed

Three years ago, the federal government launched the Health Star Rating System, which resulted in some supermarket products being rated a certain number of stars based on particular nutritional criteria. Despite some superficial success, there is plenty more criticism to suggest that the system is fundamentally flawed and in urgent need of major review. So what is actually wrong with the Health Star Rating System? It’s not mandatory; it’s based on nutrients, not whole foods; healthy foods can have fewer stars than junk food; the equation does not consider the level of processing or raw ingredients; &, the food industry sits on the advisory panel.    Source: Susie Burrell, Food stars

FSANZ Update on Allergy Labelling Requirements

Some foods and food ingredients or their components can cause severe allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. Most food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. The Food Standards Code requires these foods to be declared on labels whenever they are present as ingredients or as components of food additives or processing aids. If the food is not in a package or is not required to have a label (for example, food prepared at and sold from a takeaway shop), this information must either be displayed in connection with the food or provided to the purchaser if requested.    Source: Allergy labelling   See also related reading from Department of Agriculture: Allergy labelling 2

FSANZ Notifications –

Application A1127 – Processing Aids for Wine. The purpose of this Application is to seek permission for the use of four processing aids, silver chloride, ammonium bisulphite, chitin-glucan and PVI/PVP as processing aids for wine.    Source: Wine aid

Application A1123 – Isomalto-oligosaccharide as a Novel Food. The purpose of the Application is to permit isomalto-oligosaccharide as a novel food for use as an alternative (lower calorie) sweetener and bulk filler in a ranger of general purpose and special purpose foods.    Source: Novel food

FSANZ Recalls -

Lotus & Ming Baby Whiting. The recall is due to the presence of undeclared allergens (egg and milk).    Source: Whiting recall

Authentic Asia Prawn Wonton. The recall is due to the presence of foreign matter (plastic).    Source: Wanton recall

Skin-Whitening Uptake Sparks Concern Among Australian Dermatologists

The popularity of skin-whitening is on the rise with the market for skin lighteners projected to reach $US23 billion ($30.5 billion) by 2020, according to market intelligence firm Global Industry Analysts. Across Asia, it is normal to walk into a beauty store and see mostly skin-whitening products adorning the shelves. Whitening is a cultural trend and derives from what's known as "colourism" — a system that privileges lighter skin. It can be pervasive in Asian cultures where darker skin is often associated with manual outdoor work like farming, and therefore a lower status. Dermatologists in Australia said they were concerned about the risks of using the products where some ingredients were not clearly disclosed or were in foreign languages. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said the chemical hydroquinone was the most commonly used ingredient in skin-whitening products.    Source: Thuy Ong, ABC News Skin-whitening

Johnson & Johnson to Pay $148 Million in Damages to Woman Who ‘Got Cancer’ from their Baby Powder

Cosmetics company Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay US$110 million (AU$148 million) to a woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after 40 years of using of its talc- based products for feminine hygiene. Lois Slemp, who lives in the US state of Virginia, is undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer, initially diagnosed in 2012, returned and spread to her liver. Ms Slemp said she developed cancer after four decades of daily use of talc-containing products produced by J & J, specifically the well-known Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder.    Source: Talc cancer

TGA Issues Guidance on Advertising Cosmetic Services that Include Schedule 4 Substances

This advice is for health professionals and cosmetic/beauty clinics who advertise cosmetic services that involve therapeutic goods containing Schedule 4 (prescription-only) substances. These groups are reminded that advertising of prescription-only products to consumers is illegal. This offence attracts a maximum penalty of $10,800 for an individual and $54,000 for a body corporate. The Act broadly defines an advertisement in relation to therapeutic goods as including any statement, pictorial representation or design, however made, that is intended, whether directly or indirectly, to promote the use or supply of the goods.    Source: TGA cosmetic advertising

Naturally Good Expo 2017

RFA Regulatory Affairs will again have a stand at this year’s event on the 4th and 5th June in the new Complementary Medicines Pavilion – dedicated to the growth of complementary medicines through all Australian channels. Come and see us at Stand B43!

We encourage our overseas and local clients to consider the exciting opportunity of attending this industry event!

Naturally Good Expo
ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre
Sunday 4th – Monday 5th June, 2017
Open daily 10am – 5pm
Visitors information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Exhibit/sponsor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


Avoid Fake Websites, Scams and other e-Nasties

Australia Competition & Consumer Commission has set up a dedicated website to alert consumers to all of the many potential perils currently circulating on the internet. Bookmark this site:

Cannabis Crusaders Cheer After 19 Years of Dashed Hopes

Australia—and to some extent New Zealand—witnessed the birth of a brand new industry segment, when a council of ministers agreed finally to permit the consumption of hemp seeds by humans as food.    Source:  RJ Whitehead, Food Navigator-Asia Cannabis at last!


This month’s quote:

“Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”  Judge Frances L. Young, DEA Administrative Law Judge.


Can the Blockchain be the Ultimate Guarantor of Supply Chain Accuracy?

Frank Yiannas has spent years looking in vain for a better way to track lettuce, steaks and snack cakes from farm and factory to the shelves of Wal-Mart, where he is the vice president for food safety. When the company dealt with salmonella outbreaks, it often took weeks to trace where the bad ingredients came from. Then, last year, IBM executives flew to Wal-Mart's headquarters in Arkansas to propose a solution: the blockchain.  At its heart, blockchain simply refers to a bookkeeping method that "chains" together entries so that they are very difficult to modify later. It provides a way for large groups of unrelated companies to jointly keep a secure and reliable record of their transactions.   Source: Nathaniel Popper & Steve Lohr, SMH  Blockchain accounting


Beers and bibles: How Coopers Created Their Own PR Disaster

The danger with a company making a political statement is that customers tend to take it seriously. South Australian brewer Coopers is owned by the Coopers family, who have been long time donors to the Bible Society along with other religious and conservative groups. It was not long before there was a massive social media backlash about Coopers' involvement in sponsoring a religious organisation to make an explicitly political point about marriage equality – a hot topic in Australia these days. When Coopers chose to sponsor a political act by a religious organisation then they forced their customers to make a choice. They could tacitly support their position by continuing to drink their product, or they could take Coopers at their word, respect their clear position on an issue that affects LGBTIQ Australians, and choose to drink something else from here on in. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences, even for breweries.   Source: Andrew P. Street, SMH Marketing fail


Quote for the month:

“The secret of crisis management is not good Vs bad; it’s preventing the bad from getting worse”   Andy Gilman 


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