The role and responsibilities of FSANZ
FSANZ was established under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.
The responsibilities of FSANZ include:
- developing, varying and reviewing standards for food available in Australia and New Zealand – these are set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).
- developing codes of conduct in collaboration with industry.
In New Zealand, FSANZ is responsible for standards relating to labelling, composition and contaminants. In Australia, FSANZ has a much wider scope. As well as labelling and composition, it also develops food standards for food safety, maximum residue limits (MRLs), primary production and processing as well as a range of other functions including the coordination of recall systems and assessing policies about imported food.
Governance of FSANZ
FSANZ was set up under the Food Standards Treaty. It is governed by a Board, which works to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). The Ministerial Council is made up of New Zealand and Australian (both state and commonwealth) health ministers, as well as representatives from other portfolios.
You can find more information about FSANZ and the work it does on the FSANZ website.
Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code)
The standards developed by FSANZ are described in the Code, which is a law that applies in Australia and New Zealand. MPI is responsible for its implementation in New Zealand, including compliance policy. The Code provides:
- a common set of food composition and labelling rules agreed between New Zealand and Australia
- access, for consumers, to information about what's in the food they eat.
What is covered by the Code in New Zealand
Unless otherwise noted in the Code, all Standards apply in New Zealand. There is one part of the Code that applies only to New Zealand – Standard 2.9.6, a transitional Standard for special purposes foods.
What is not covered by the Code in New Zealand
A number of areas are outside the scope of the joint system. These are covered under New Zealand food safety legislation and include:
- maximum residue limits (MRLs) for agricultural compounds in food
- food hygiene and food safety provisions, including those for high-risk imported foods
- details of materials permitted to be added to or used to produce food packaging materials
- export requirements relating to destination markets, other than Australia
- dietary supplements.
Some parts of the Code do not apply to New Zealand, including:
- Standard 1.4.2 Maximum Residue Limits
- Standard 1.6.2 Processing Requirements
- Standard 2.1.1 (4)(2) Thiamine in Bread
- Standard 2.4.2 (2)(3) Vitamin D in Margarine
- Chapter 3 Food Safety Requirements
- Chapter 4 Primary Production Standards.