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Amendments to joint food standards treaty tabled

31 October 2001 Media Statement

Amendments to joint food standards treaty tabled

Health Minister Annette King says amendments to the joint Australia-New Zealand system for the development of food standards are being tabled in Parliament today.

Mrs King says the amendments, which were agreed between the two countries earlier this year, will be considered by a Select Committee in accordance with Parliament’s treaty examination process.

“The process should be completed early next year. The amendments confirm the commitment of both the New Zealand and Australian Governments to a joint system for setting food standards.”

The amendments to the ANZFA (Australia New Zealand Food Authority) Treaty will allow the New Zealand and Australian governments and the Australian state and territory governments to have more than one Minister on the governing Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council.

“This will allow all ministers with an interest in food, such as health, agriculture and consumer issues, to contribute to food standards policies, but each government will have only one vote,” Mrs King said. “All the governments have nominated the Health Minister to be the lead minister.”

The renamed Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will be based on the existing ANZFA. The new board will consist of 12 members (see attached), with New Zealand maintaining its relativity with three members.

Mrs King said the benefits for New Zealand would continue to include:

- A single set of food standards within the Australasian market, providing opportunities for New Zealand food manufacturers to participate in the Australian market, without unnecessary barriers to trade.

- The ability to share the scarce expertise of both countries to develop and review food standards, resulting in well informed food standards

- New Zealand can replace existing Food Regulations with a comprehensive set of modern food standards, well ahead of its ability to do so by itself.

“The amendments clearly move the policy-making role on food standards to Ministers, enabling them to give clear direction on food standards development.”

ENDS

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will comprise:

- Chairman

- Chief executive

- Three members nominated by Health Minister Annette King (one must be a person with expertise in one of the science or public health fields specified by the Act)

- One member nominated by the National Health and Medical Research Council

- One member nominated by consumer organisations

- Three members nominated by organisations or public bodies established for purposes relating to science or public health

- Two members nominated by organisations, or public bodies, established for purposes relating to the food industry.

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