Australia-New Zealand

Fsanz calls for submissions on a raft of food-code proposals

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
The antipodean regulator opened a public consultation on three potential changes to the food standards code in Australia and New Zealand.

The amendments concern applications to increase levels of plant sterols in some breakfast cereals, introduce a new sweetener and changes to the regulator’s cost-recovery arrangements.

Fsanz chief executive Steve McCutcheon said the first application, by breakfast-food major Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, seeks to allow increased concentrations of plant sterols​ in portion-controlled breakfast cereals.

Plant sterols occur naturally in certain plants and are currently permitted to be added to edible oil spreads, breakfast cereals, milk and yoghurt. The regulator has reviewed Sanitarium’s application and found no concerns with the proposed concentrations, based on available data.

The second amendment concerns an application to permit the use of an alternative, lower-calorie sweetener​ and bulk filler.

Essence Group had applied for isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) to be permitted for use as a novel food. IMO is allowed in a number of other countries for use as an alternative to other carbohydrate bulk sweeteners, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and high-fructose syrups.

Fsanz’s safety assessment concluded that for its intended use, IMO was safe for the general population​,” McCutcheon said. 

Submissions are also invited for a consultation paper released by Fsanz on proposed changes to its cost-recovery arrangements​.

McCutcheon said reviews of the regulator’s cost-recovery arrangements found that present charges did not reflect the real cost of services that attract a fee.

The proposed changes to our cost recovery methodology align with government policy and ensure that the agency meets its statutory requirements.

Less than 2% of Fsanz’s total revenue is generated through cost-recovery, and only a small number of applications to amend the food standards code incur costs​,” he added

A sizeable reduction in the regulator’s administrative charges has also been proposed while a refund policy for unused hours remains.

All Fsanz decisions on applications are notified to the ministers responsible for food regulation in Australia and New Zealand, who can then decide to ask for a review or agree that an amendment should become law.

Anyone with an interest in the proposed changes can send their views to the regulator by January 24 for plant sterols submissions, or by February 3 for the sweetener and cost-recovery arrangements.

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