New biosecurity website
A new website - biosecurity.gov.au - details measures in place to protect Australia from harmful pests, diseases and weeds. This gathers information previously found on different state and federal websites. Source: Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Failing Food Report - May 2021
Foods inspected at the border. Includes risk food test results (the usual suspects were identified - Salmonella, aflatoxin, hydrocyanic acid, histamine) and surveillance food test results. This month many products were found to contain vitamins and minerals not permitted. Source: Dept Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Imported food inspection scheme
This summarises data from imported food inspections conducted from 1 January to 31 December 2020. Includes information on compliance, analytical testing (contaminants, microbiological) and other tests. Interestingly, most non-compliance was for labels that did not comply with Australian food standards, including 38.8% of labels lacked or listed either incomplete or incorrect nutritional details; 18.4% of labels lacked or listed either incomplete or incorrect ingredient lists; 16.6% of labels were non-compliant with country of origin labelling requirements; 12.4% of labels lacked importer details. Source: Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Imported food - virtual inspections of labels
The government is accepting expressions of interest from parties interested in engaging in virtual visual label inspections for eligible imported surveillance food. This is done in real time via Microsoft Teams. Food eligible for a virtual label and visual inspection is surveillance food. However the following surveillance foods are not eligible for virtual inspections: formulated supplementary sport foods; food subject to a holding order; food subject to analytical testing. Risk food is also not eligible for label and visual virtual inspections. Source: Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Approvals and amendments to the Food Standards Code and calls for comment on proposed changes
Call for comment on an application to allow an existing enzyme processing aid (maltogenic alpha-amylase, which has a long history of safe use and is already approved to be sourced from another microorganism) to be produced from a new genetically modified (GM) source - a GM strain of bacterium known as Bacillus licheniformis. Source: Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Very Low Energy Diet (VLED) Products: Application to amend the Food Standards Code to include food suited for Very Low Energy Diets (VLEDs) in foods for special medical purpose (FSMPs) Source: Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Gazetted amendments resulting from previous applications:
Irradiation as a phytosanitary measure for all fresh fruit and vegetables
Subtilisin from GM Bacillus licheniformis as a processing aid (enzyme) Variation
Rebaudioside M as Steviol (Glycoside) Variation
Food derived from herbicide-tolerant canola line MON94100 Variation
Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods - FSANZ is now calling for data on substances for use in sports foods. Source: Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Restrictions on marketing of infant formula
The ACCC has reauthorised an agreement among infant formula manufacturers and importers that prohibits them from advertising and promoting infant formula directly to the public. The ACCC states "A continued ban on infant formula advertising is likely to result in public benefits by protecting rates of breastfeeding, which has significant public health benefits". Source: ACCC
Permitted novel foods
Some foods that have been deemed to be "novel" can be used in certain circumstances. This Standard lists permitted novel foods, and specifies conditions for their use. Source: Federal Register of Legislation.
New Zealand - comments invited on import requirements
This is relevant to "importing personal consignments of products for human consumption and personal effects". This applies to fresh and stored plant products and personal effects (not otherwise already covered by a standard) and applies to items brought into New Zealand via passengers' luggage, and air and sea freight. Source: New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.