Australia / NZ regulator seeks to overhaul charging structure for amendments to food standards code

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

Australia / NZ regulator seeks to overhaul charging structure for amendments to food standards code

Related tags Australia Food policy Fsanz New zealand Standards

Food companies seeking to secure amendments to Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) code of standards could face a revised set of costs, under plans put forward for consultation.

Acting FSANZ CEO Peter May said the new Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) better reflected the administrative costs associated with certain applications to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

“In the past, FSANZ has developed and implemented a cost recovery model that was based on a blended hourly rate applicable to the entire agency rather than an hourly rate for each staff level.

“In this CRIS, in response to industry submissions, we propose a new model that provides a fixed rate for those elements of the work schedule that are generic for all procedures and a variable rate for the variable elements,”​ said the regulator.

FSANZ said the new cost structure would have two components:

Firstly, a fixed charge that relates to activities that are relatively consistent for all procedures, and secondly a flexible charge that responds to variability that can occur because each application has some unique elements.

Under the new plans, a flat rate charge of $19,300 will be imposed  for receiving and processing all applications, drafting variations to the code, public notification, records management, approval, publication and compilation.

The variable charges will be added by the hour, with the amount depending on the seniority of the staff involved and the level of procedure or health claim involved. This could range from $100 per hour for an officer, to $438 an hour for the board chairman.

FSANZ also charges an administrative charge, and is proposing to reduce this from $10,000 to $1,000 for non-higher level health claim changes and to $4,000 for higher level health claim applications.

“We have consulted with industry and developed a costing model that takes into account the different levels of work required throughout the application process. This will give applicants a more accurate estimate of the actual charge,” ​said May.

Decisions by the FSANZ Board to approve variations to the code are subject to consideration by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, whose members are ministers from the Australian State, Territory and New Zealand Governments.

Less than 2% of FSANZ’s total revenue is generated through cost recovery and only a small number of applications to amend the code incur costs.

The deadline for submissions for feedback on the draft is 6pm, Canberra time, August 2, 2018.

Following stakeholder feedback, the CRIS will be finalised.

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