Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Amends Food Surveillance Protocols
This Australian authority has completed a review of the surveillance tests applied to many imported food products. Fresh and frozen meat (to start screening for certain antibiotic residues identified as being of high importance to human medicine.); fruit, vegetables and dried herbs that are minimally processed and are ready to eat (to screen for presence of E. coli and Salmonella). As well, hemp seed and hemp seed products, which have been permitted for sale since 12 November 2017, will now have their own screening protocols. From 24 April 2018 the department will introduce testing to verify that imports are derived from low THC cannabis sativa seed and comply with the permitted levels for total THC and cannabidiol. Hemp seed and hemp seed protein powders/flour referred for inspection will be cleared where total THC is not more than 5 mg/kg, cannabidiol is not more than 75 mg/kg, &, hemp oil has a total THC not more than 10 mg/kg and cannabidiol is not more than 75 mg/kg. Source: Food surveillance
Australia’s New Country of Origin Information Standard: A Competitive Advantage for New Zealand?
The new Country of Origin (Food Labelling) Information Standard 2016 is mandatory from 1 July 2018. The effect of this Information Standard in combination with the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement could enhance a competitive trade advantage for New Zealand food companies over Australian companies globally. Under New Zealand law, any New Zealand country of origin claims are permitted but are voluntary. New Zealand has never made country of origin labelling mandatory. If a New Zealand company chooses to emphasize the New Zealand origin of its product, this is because of a belief in the marketplace that the claim can attract a price premium. New Zealand companies know that they can trade off the “clean, green” reputation of New Zealand food products without having to meet the technical burdens that are imposed on Australian companies by the CoOL Information Standard applicable to products that are manufactured in Australia. Source: Lederman & Fisher, Food Legal NZ CoOL (Editor’s note: This information is relevant to ‘foods’, but not to ‘complementary medicines’, which although classifed as ‘food supplements’ in some countries, are categorised as medicines in Australia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is very shortly about to release new guidelines for complementary medicines’ country of origin claims and this will be detailed in our next newsletter. Stay tuned!)
Food Standards Australia & New Zealand has released a survey looking at the levels of seven plasticisers which may be used in food packaging materials. The plasticisers were inspected in a broad range of Australian foods. It found that migration of packaging chemicals into Australian foods is very low and presents a negligible risk for Australian consumers. Source: Plasticisers in food survey
NSW Food Authority Recalls – Source: Current recalls
Macro Chinese Honey Soy Flavoured Tofu: Woolworths has recalled Macro Chinese Honey Soy Flavoured Tofu due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (peanut).
Washed Rind Cheeses: Washed Rind Pty Ltd has recalled a variety of cheeses made in France due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
Home Ice Cream Coconutters Mango Vanilla: Home Ice Cream Pty Ltd has recalled Home Ice Cream Coconutters Mango Vanilla due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk).
The Whole Foodies SEA VEGETABLES Mixed Seaweed: Unique Health Products Pty Ltd has recalled The Whole Foodies SEA VEGETABLES Mixed Seaweed due to high level of Arsenic.
Macro Natural Sunflower Kernels: Woolworths has recalled Macro Natural Sunflower Kernels 500g due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (tree nut - walnut).
Planet Food Organic Hemp Vegan Protein - Rich Chocolate Flavour: Healthy Warrior Pty Ltd has recalled Planet Food Organic Hemp Vegan Protein - Rich Chocolate Flavour due to non compliant labelling (soy free claim made on the front of packaging but soy is included as an ingredient).
FSANZ Food Recall Statistics
FSANZ has collected data on Australian food recalls since 1990, including the causes of all recalls and their domestic or overseas origins. This data can be used to identify trends and common problems occurring in the food industry, so that steps can be taken to prevent future issues. These statistics are updated each year. Source: Food recall stats
Application A1142 – Addition of Prescribed Method of Analysis for Resistant Starch: The purpose of the Application is to add a method of analysis for dietary fibre and other fibre content for specifically named fibre content of food (resistant starch). Source: Resistant starch
Application A1147 – Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Cotton Line GHB811: The purpose of the Application is to seek approval for food derived from cotton line GHB811, genetically modified to provide resistance to isoxaflutole and glyphosate. Source: Herbicide tolerant cotton
Application A1151–Beta-Galactosidase from Papiliotrema terrestris as a Processing Aid (Enzyme): The purpose of the Application is to amend Schedule 18 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to include ß-Galactosidase from Papiliotrema terrestris as a Processing Aid. Source: Pap enzyme
Proposal P1044 – Plain English Allergen Labelling: FSANZ is working on a proposal to make allergen labelling requirements clearer, which will help food allergen-sensitive consumers and food businesses. The Food Standards Code already contains a mandatory requirement to label 10 allergens; however it does not include requirements for the terminology that should be used. The proposal aims to make allergen labelling clearer so that food allergen-sensitive consumers have the information they need to make informed and safe food choices. The first consultation paper for the proposal was released in February 2018. Source: Allergen labelling