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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has revealed that the supermarket chain,Supabarn and the juice manufacturer, the Real Juice Company, have each paid penalties totalling $20,400 for false representations. Not only was the two litre apple juice carrying a label claiming that the apple juice product was: "… produced locally using the freshest quality Apples" and "Straight From a Farm", when in fact it was apple concentrate made in China, Supabarn's private label two litre cranberry juice also falsely declared "no added sugar, no artificial flavours, no artificial colours, no preservatives" when the juice contained added sugar and other additives.
Source: Esther Han, SMH http://tinyurl.com/q4up5gk
Australia’s Department of Agriculture advises that fresh, chilled or frozen ready-to-eat berries (RTE berries) are subject to testing requirements and advises industry on how to provide the department with a declaration for RTE berries that will undergo further processing, that includes a heat treatment that is sufficient to inactivate hepatitis A virus, prior to consumption.
Read also: “Targeted intervention of frozen RTE raspberries from Serbia”http://tinyurl.com/ohrar8d
The purpose of this Proposal P1037, is to address inconsistencies and lack of clarity and related standards to ensure that Standard 1.2.7 operates as intended and also to provide exemptions for certain Health Star Rating label elements from Standard 1.2.7 requirements.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today called for submissions on updating the revised Food Standards Code. The Code was reviewed as part of Proposal P1025 to make requirements clearer and to ensure it better meets the needs of stakeholders. Changes were gazetted on 10 April 2015 and take effect on 1 March 2016. Opportunity for submissions closed on 26th May 2015.
The NSW Food Authority is urging people to be aware of their responsibility when it comes to managing the growing increase of food allergies in our community after this year’s national Food Allergy Week, Sunday 17 - 23 May 2015. This initiative is an important reminder, to food business and consumers, of the important role they play when it comes to managing food allergies. It is especially relevant for all food, beverage and medicine labelling.
French consumer group Foodwatch has condemned a proposed five-colour front-of-pack nutritional labelling system, calling it an industry smokescreen.
Source: Caroline Scott-Thomas, FoodNavigator.com http://tinyurl.com/mxavq7e
The Council of Australian Government – Health Council has issued the final report on a national code of conduct for health care workers in Australia. The report found that the vast majority of unregistered health practitioners practise in a safe, competent and ethical manner. There are, however, a small proportion of unregistered health practitioners who present a serious risk to the public because they are incompetent, or impaired due to physical or mental dysfunction or drug or alcohol addiction, or they engage in exploitative, predatory and illegal conduct such that, if they were a registered health practitioner, would result in cancellation of their registration and removal of their right to practise. This report comes up with seven (7) recommendations.
The TGA has explored options to replace or remove the LVT scheme, in consultation with industry, as it no longer meets its intended objectives, is inconsistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines and imposes a significant red tape burden on both industry and the TGA. The key benefits of the proposed ACE scheme are - No application fee is required; Automatic exemption upon entry in the ARTG until turnover commences; Self-declaration (no third party accountant certification); Online self-service; Annual charge invoices will not be issued for exempt entries, saving significant administrative overhead for sponsors and TGA; New waiver option for annual charges on the basis of public health risk; and, Greater equity, transparency, and significant red tape reduction.
The Australian regulatory guidelines for complementary medicines (ARGCM) provide information for manufacturers, sponsors, healthcare professionals and the general public on the regulation of complementary medicines in Australia. The latest update, Version 5.2 May 2015, of these guidelines can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/l8c5d6d
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has completed an administrative assessment and accepted the following Application. An opportunity to comment will be available at a later date which will be publicly notified. A1111 – Bacteriophage S16 & FO1a as a Processing Aid: to seek approval for a preparation of two bacteriophages (S16 and FO1a) (Salmonelex™) as a processing aid to reduce Salmonella contamination in specific foods.
China’s National People’s Congress passed the Food Safety Law, which has implications across the entire food sector, including dietary supplements ('complementary medicines', in Australia). The new regulations that will come into effect 1 October 2015 have yet to specify exactly the impact on dietary supplements. China’s FDA and the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) will be releasing implementation regulations leading up to 1 October, which will hopefully clarify exactly how the new legislation functions. As of 1 October, companies will be able to import supplements on a notification basis. However, to qualify, supplements can only contain ingredients that are on a list yet to be created/approved by FDA and NHFPC. Previous draft regulations and US-CHPA meetings with FDA have revealed that this list will be made up of vitamins and minerals.
See also related article, NHFPC Approves 17 National Standards: http://tinyurl.com/n4o5sus
The Schedule varies a Standard in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The purpose of the proposed variation to Standard 1.4.2 is to vary MRLs for residues of agricultural or veterinary chemicals in food.
Following on from our story in the April 2015 RFA Newsletter, ‘Coles to Pay $2.5m For Misleading "Baked Today" And "Freshly Baked In-Store" Bread Promotion’, this article examines what is the legal meaning of the term ‘Fresh’ as it applies to foods supplied in Australia. There are no legal definitions for “baked” or “fresh” in the Australian Consumer Law. Therefore the ACCC asked the Federal Court to define these terms. What implications are there for Woolworths with the longstanding brand position and tagline as ‘Australia’s Fresh Food People’? What are the implications for every business that advertises fresh bread, fresh fruit, fresh juice or fresh produce? We may not have long to wait before the ACCC aims for a fresh target!
Source: Cordato Partners http://tinyurl.com/lmskth5
During the past few years, some 200 class-action suits have been filed against food manufacturers, charging them with misuse of the adjective in marketing. “Natural” has a fairly sturdy antonym — “artificial, or synthetic” — and, at least on a scale of relative values, it’s not hard to say which of two things is “more natural” than the other: cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup? Chicken or chicken nuggets? G.M.O.s or heirloom seeds? The most natural foods in the supermarket seldom bother with the word”. In Australia, where labelling rules are regulated by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), the situation is similar. "'Natural' claims are particularly persuasive to Australian consumers but there are no enforceable food standards regulating the use of the term," say the authors of a recent paper exploring the subject. "These kinds of voluntary statements may be subject to Australian Consumer Law which is administered by the ACCC," an FSANZ spokesman told Fairfax.
Consumers and health professionals are advised that Well Herb, in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, is recalling a batch of High Strength Niuhuang Jiedu, tablets (bottle of 60) because it has been found to contain arsenic at an unacceptably high level. These tablets are a complementary medicine marketed for the treatment of symptoms of sore throat, mouth ulcers, cough, cold sores, sore gums, watery or itchy eyes, and constipation. The amount of arsenic found in the product may create a risk of serious illness, particularly with continuous long-term use. Symptoms of arsenic toxicity include vomiting and diarrhoea, and in more severe cases fever, skin rash, cardiac arrhythmia and kidney failure.
Therapeutic Goods Administration warns that illegal product, MMC USA Blue Shark capsules (Contains ‘sildenafil’), should not be taken.
As reported in last month’s April 2015 RFA Newsletter, the Therapeutic Goods Administration is planning to upgrade its eBS service. The TGA has confirmed that this new site has now been successfully launched. “The new site has been designed to make doing business with the TGA easier and quicker - with its improved look and greater functionality, clients will be able to self-serve at a time that suits them”.
Natural Products New Zealand has sought to clarify journalist’s claims of the dangers of taking supplements after a study was originally published by Colorado University. It has been suggested that taking supplements increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. NPNZ has responded with the observation that “in fact if one reads through the article the research actually states that if taken in the recommended dosage multi vitamins may be of help, but that is not the take-out that the press have promoted”. Follow the debate with links to articles here: http://tinyurl.com/mop2gto
The Naturally Good Natural & Organics Products Expo was a ‘trade only’ event held at the Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney on 3rd & 4th May 2015 and RFA Regulatory Affairs was present as an exhibitor.
The winners of our prize draws of action cameras and sound gear were:
Vicki Engsell & Wendy Widdicombe (The Jojoba Company), Adam Lindsay (Quarran Health Products) and Amal Dermelkonian (Syndian Natural Foods)