The government agency has compiled a consultation paper proposing that the definitions for ‘novel foods’ and ‘nutritive substances’ be removed and replaced with simpler categories; ‘eligible’ and ‘non-eligible’ foods.
This eligibility would be determined against a set of criteria clearly outlined in the Food Standards Code.
The current Food Standards Code stipulates that ‘nutritive substances’ are foods not normally consumed as a food on their own or used as an ingredient and ‘novel foods’ are those which do not have a history of human consumption.
FSANZ said one of the main day-to-day problems that industry and regulators face is the classification of nutritive substances and novel foods due to “the ambiguity of the definitions.”
Is that food eligible?
“The majority of foods currently sold in Australia and New Zealand markets are expected to be considered eligible foods. Non-eligible foods would be prohibited from being sold as food and would require pre-market assessment before they are permitted in the Code,” FSANZ said.
FSANZ added that this new regulatory approach would only be applied to new foods and “is not intended to be retrospectively applied to existing foods.”
This approach is focused on ensuringan “adequate level of regulatory scrutiny” on the addition of food-derived substances to foods, it said.
“The major benefits of the approach will be greater clarity and regulatory certainty for industry and regulators and the development of a streamlined risk assessment for ‘safe’ foods,” the agency continued.
Steve McCutcheon, CEO at FSANZ said “FSANZ welcomes comments on the consultation paper from government agencies, public health professionals, industry and the community on the application.”
The closing date for submissions is 21 May 2012 and the full paper can be downloaded here.