Calls for Health Star Ratings on Packaged Food to be Compulsory

The current use of ‘Health Star Ratings’ on packaged foods is not mandatory and is only being displayed on around 30 per cent of foods. Most of these products have scored at the upper end of the five-star scale and public health experts are concerned some producers are "gaming the system" by exploiting loopholes around sugar, salt and fat content. The federal government has commissioned an independent five year review into the health star ratings, which is due this month. There is concern that the dietary guidelines are skewed towards the interests of food companies. There have been calls for the algorithm to be improved in order to incorporate added sugars, increase penalties on salt content, and remove undue benefits from protein.    Source: Daniel McCulloch, Good Food Health star ratings

Sugary Cereals Targeted Under Health Star Proposal

Sugary breakfast cereals that seem healthy could lose up to 2.5 stars if the ministers reviewing the Health Star Rating system adopt a proposal to differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and added sugar. New modelling from consumer advocacy group Choice shows how the proposed change to the system's algorithm would penalise products such as Kelloggs' Nutri-Grain and Nestle's Milo cereal, while increasing ratings for "healthier" products that contain naturally occurring sugars, such as yoghurt and fruit.    Source: Jenny Noyes, SMH Sugars aint sugars

NSW Food Authority Publishes 50th Edition of Foodwise Publication

From humble beginnings as a printed newsletter in December 2005, The New South Wales’ Foodwise publication has evolved into an interactive digital information resource for the NSW food industry. The aim of Foodwise remains unchanged: communicating regularly and directly with readers to keep the local food industry partners informed about important issues across their sector.    Source: Foodwise

April 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 April. Among the pathogenic organisms detected in these imported foods were, Listeria monocytogenes, coagulase positive Staphylococci E coli, Bacillus cereus, and Salmonella, as well as the toxins chlorpyrifos and aflatoxin and many more.   Source: Latest failed foods

FSANZ Notifications—

Application A1163 - Food Irradiation definition of herbs and spices: The purpose of this Application is to vary Food Standard 1.5.3 Irradiation of Food to remove the reference to Schedule 22 in relation to the definition of Herbs and Spices.    Source: Herb & spice irradiation

Application A1164 – Pullulanase from Bacillus licheniformis as a processing aid (enzyme): ​​The purpose of this Application is to seek approval to permit the use of the enzyme Triacylglycerol lipase from Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid in the manufacturing of cereal-based products.    Source: Bacillus enzyme

Application A1169 - Alpha-glucosidase from Trichoderma reesei as a PA (enzyme): The purpose of this application is to consider whether to permit the use of Alpha-glucosidase enzyme from a recombinant strain of Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid.    Source: Alpha-glucosidase  

Application A1178 – Method AOAC 2017.16 as a new method of analysis for total dietary fibre: The purpose of this Application is the addition of a new total dietary fibre method, AOAC 2017.16, as a permitted method in Schedule 11 of the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code.    Source: Measuring dietary fibre

Application A1180 – Natural Glycolipids as a preservative in non-alcoholic beverages: The purpose of this application is to permit the use of long-chain glycolipids from Dacryopinax spathularia (Natural Glycolipids) as a preservative in non-alcoholic beverages.   Source: Natural glycolipid

Application A1181 – Maximum residue limits for Imazapyr in Barley Grain: The purpose of this application is to increase the maximum residue limit for imazapyr in barley grain from 0.05ppm to 0.7ppm.   Source: Imazapyr

Legal: Australian Tariff Classification Update

What do baby wipes, vitamins, weight loss tablets and apple cider have in common? They have all been the subject of Australian legal decisions regarding their tariff classification. The relevance of the decisions goes beyond just the goods that are the subject of the decision, but extends to all importers for goods into Australia. The classification principles set out in the following cases need to be kept in mind no matter what the product. Some important take-home messages drawn from these examples are: if the term in dispute (e.g. ‘Food’) is an everyday item, the decision maker should not apply technical or strained meanings. The decision maker should apply their everyday understanding of the word; and, a product not clearly identifiable as food and consumed for a reason other than nutrition, may not be classified as a food.  This has significant impact for the health food industry.    Source: Hunt & Hunt Lawyers Legal definitions

Odd Spot: DNA Discovery Traces Most of the World's Macadamias Back to One Australian Tree

Queensland researchers are shocked to discover the global macadamia industry may have originated from nuts from a single tree or small number of trees, taken from Queensland to Hawaii in the 19th century. Given the lack of genetic diversity in the $3 billion crop, the race is on to preserve wild macadamia trees to improve traits like disease resistance, size and climate adaptability. Using DNA analysis from commercial macadamia orchards in Hawaii the macadamia ancestry could be traced all the way back to a tiny patch of wild trees which still exist on private property at Mooloo, near Gympie in south east Queensland.    Source: Jennifer Nichols, ABC News Macadamia origins

NZ Food Notice: Food for Export - Exemptions from Domestic Compositional Requirements No. 2 2019

The purpose of this Notice, issued by the New Zealand Department of Primary Industries, is to exempt food for export from certain requirements of the New Zealand standards where the importing country requirements differ. This includes, but is not limited to, exempting product from certain requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. This Food Notice came into force on 5 June 2019. This Notice should be read by operators of businesses that process or package food for export from New Zealand.     Source: NZ food export exemptions

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