Current Developments in Food Law and Policy In Australia and Overseas

Australian law-firm, FoodLegal, has conveniently summarised the latest (February 2019) changes affecting the food industry both locally and overseas. Some of the stories, which you may have already read here and other relevant stories, are all presented with an emphasis on how the law relates to the current supply of foods in various global jurisdictions.   Source: FoodLegal Global food news

Importers of Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods Receive Warning

Importers of formulated supplementary sports foods have been advised that some of the products currently being imported into Australia are not compliant with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) and may pose a risk to human health. Under section 8 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992, it is an offence to import food into Australia if the importer knows, or ought reasonably to have known, that it poses a risk to human health. The offence carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to 10 years.  Source: Sports food fail

Foot-And-Mouth Disease Detected in Airport Seizures

A disease that could potentially wipe out Australia's multi-billion-dollar livestock industry has been detected at Australian airports. Two detections of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) since December 2018 were confirmed by the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in meat products declared and seized at airports. The pork jerky, sausages and other pork products were collected by Department of Agriculture staff. The highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease can spread between animals by inhalation, ingestion, and direct contact with the disease and could cost Australia's livestock industries $40-60 billion.   Source: ABC News Foot-and-mouth

January 2019 Failing Food Report

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources targets and monitors food determined to pose a high or medium risk to public health. Risk food is targeted at the rate of 100 per cent until a history of food safety compliance is established. When an emerging human health and safety hazard is identified in food, the department may temporarily increase monitoring and testing. This latest report details food that was found to fail under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme during the month of August. Among the pathogenic organisms detected in these imported foods were, Listeria monocytogenes, coagulase positive Staphylococci E coli, and Salmonella, as well as the toxins histamine and aflatoxin and more. Source: Latest failed foods

FAQS For Food Businesses

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand has helpful information for all food businesses.   Source: Food FAQs

Strawberry Tampering Incident Report to Government

As reported in previous editions of this newsletter and elsewhere, a food tampering incident occurred involving sewing needles inserted into Australian strawberries in September 2018. Initially an isolated event in Queensland, the incident escalated to other states and territories involving multiple tampering events in strawberries and other fruit across the country. Only a few instances were believed by authorities to be associated with the original event with most other instances believed to be multiple hoax or ‘copycat’ events. This report on these food tampering incidents has been produced by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The report summarises measures taken by food regulatory agencies, the police and industry in response to the incident, as well as canvassing issues identified by food regulatory agencies, police and industry stakeholders about supply chain vulnerabilities, response procedures and communications.   Source: Strawberry tampering outcome    P.S. In November 2018, a former berry supervisor for one of the affected brands was arrested and charged with the crime in Brisbane, Australia. Her motive was said to be spite over a workplace grievance.

Retail NZ Welcomes Nathan Guy Bill on Food Contamination

Retail NZ has applauded National MP Nathan Guy for proposing a Member’s Bill that will create stronger penalties for deliberate food contamination. “Following on from the many recent incidents in Australia involving needles in fruit, and copycat in New Zealand, Retail NZ and the Food and Grocery Council have asked the Government to create a specific criminal offence relating to grocery sabotage,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s General Manager Public Affairs said today. “While the Government has not responded to our request, Retail NZ is delighted that National’s Nathan Guy has proposed a Member’s Bill to deal with this issue.    Source: Scoop Food contamination bill

FSANZ Notifications—

Application A1159 – Triacylglycerol lipase from Trichoderma reesai as a processing aid(enzyme): The purpose of this Application is to permit the enzyme lipase, triacylglycerol from Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid for the production of bakery products and cereal-based beverages. Source: Trichoderma enyme

Application A1172 – Enzymatic production of Rebaudioside D: The purpose of this Application is to seek approval for a new specification for rebaudioside D produced by an enzymatic conversion method.   Source: Rebaudioside D enzyme

Consultation on EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement

The New Zealand Government has called for consultation on lists of geographical indications (GIs) that the European Union is asking New Zealand to protect as part of negotiations for a free trade agreement. The lists include GIs for a range of foods and beverages. Food suppliers with registered trade marks in New Zealand that are similar to the terms on the list, or use any of the terms as common descriptors for goods exported into New Zealand, may wish to make a submission. Submissions are due by the 19 March 2019   Source: NZ-EU food consultation

NZ Company Hellers Prosecuted Over Mispackaged Sausages

New Zealand Food Safety has announced that smallgoods manufacturer Hellers has been fined almost $40,000 and ordered to pay a total of $15,000 to 3 children who had moderate to severe allergic reactions after consuming mispackaged Sizzlers sausages. This is the first time that tougher penalties introduced in the Food Act 2014 have been imposed.   Source: Sausage allergy

Famous Chinese Health Food Brand Stung In Honey Scandal

One of China's most famous health brands, Tong Ren Tang, has been banned from making honey and fined 14 million yuan (AUD$2.9 million), after it was caught "recycling" expired honey into premium label jars for sale in supermarkets. A Chinese television program had found that hundreds of bottles of expired honey were taken to a factory to be repackaged and resold under the Tong Ren Tang label. An official investigation by the Food and Drug Administration later found 2284 bottles had entered the market since October 2018. The blending of adulterated honey from China with Australian honey sparked a backlash against "fake" honey on Australian supermarket shelves in 2018. Australian regulators have not taken action against Australian honey makers accused of selling blended honey, and are instead reviewing testing standards for imported honey. In a separate and recent fake honey case in New Zealand, food safety regulators are taking a company, Evergreen Life, to court alleging its manuka honey product is fake and mixed with artificial chemicals.    Source: Kirsty Needham, SMH Chinese honey

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