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Transitional Arrangements For Joint Food Standards

Transitional Arrangements For The Joint Food Standards Code And A Policy Guideline On Primary Products

SYDNEY, June 28

Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Ministers meeting via teleconference today agreed on a number of important food issues.

Implementation of the Joint Food Standards Code

On 20 December 2002 the Australian Food Standards Code (Volume 1 of the Food Standards Code) and the New Zealand food regulations will be replaced, following a two-year transition period, by a joint Food Standards Code for both Australia and New Zealand. Stock-in-Trade Provisions

At the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council meeting on 24 May 2002, Ministers indicated in-principle support for the transition arrangements concerning the implementation of the Joint Food Standards Code pending a formal recommendation from the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) Board. Ministers today endorsed a 12 months stock-in-trade provision for all general food products; a 24 month stock-in-trade provision for long shelf-life products; and for food labelled at the point of sale, a 12 months extension to the transition period for labelling requirements except those that are important to protect the safety of consumers. These arrangements apply only to finished foods produced and packaged before 20 December 2002.

Transitional Arrangements for Repeal of Volume One of the Food Standards Code

Ministers today confirmed that the transition period will end on 20 December 2002. Ministers also agreed to include in Volume 2 of the Food Standards Code transitional arrangements for those issues remaining unresolved such as health claims; country of origin labelling; infant formula; labelling of royal jelly and other bee products; warning statements for condensed milk; modified milk and skim milk and special purpose foods (for New Zealand only).

Primary Product Standards Policy Guideline (Australia Only)

Ministers have agreed to an overarching policy guideline on Primary Production and Processing Standards. Ministers had previously endorsed both the model detailing the system and the protocol outlining the process for the development of the Primary Production and Processing Standard. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will replace the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) on 1 July 2002 and will assume responsibility for developing Primary Production Standards for use in all Australian States and Territories.

The policy guideline will be followed by FSANZ in this development. It prescribes that the new standards maintain Australia’s safe food supply through a consistent approach across the entire food chain without being trade restrictive or by placing an excessive regulatory burden on industry. The endorsement of the Overarching Policy Guideline is another step in the successful transfer of primary products standard setting to FSANZ.

This ensures that for the first time a single national framework exists for the development of all domestic food standards covering the entire food supply chain. Ministers also agreed to a review of the policy guideline by the Food Regulation Standing Committee after 12 months.

Ends

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