FSANZ mulls changes to Food Laws

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today invited comment on proposed changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – regulations that apply to all food sold in Australia and New Zealand.

FSANZ is inviting comment from the general public, the food industry, health professionals and government agencies on the proposed changes to the Code.

FSANZ summarises all submissions in a final report and explains what action, if any, it has taken in response to issues raised in submissions.

Mannoproteins as a food additive for wine

(Application A605 – Initial Assessment)

Laffort Services has applied for permission to use mannoproteins extracted from yeast cell walls as a food additive in wine to inhibit the crystallisation of potassium bitartrate, which is an aesthetic issue of importance to wine consumers. Existing methods to eliminate potassium bitartrate have disadvantages. FSANZ must undertake a pre-market safety assessment of food additives before giving approval for their use. At this stage, we invite the views of interested parties on whether we should proceed with this work.

Ratio of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant formula

(Application A532 – Draft Assessment)

The Infant Formula Manufacturers Association of Australia and the New Zealand Infant Formula Marketers’ Association have jointly applied to amend a requirement in the Code for infant formula products with added long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) to have omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of approximately 2:1 to a ratio of 1:1. The applicant claims recent scientific evidence has emerged and that the current standard is inconsistent with international food standards. We would like to hear from interested parties on our proposal to amend the Code to require an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio that is not less than 1, should LCPUFAs be added to infant formula.

Steviol glycosides as intense sweeteners

(Application A540 – Draft Assessment)

The Plant Sciences Group of Central Queensland University and Australian Stevia Mills Pty Ltd have applied for the Code to be amended to allow the use of steviol glycosides as an intense sweetener for a wide variety of foods. Steviol glycosides extracted from the herb Stevia rebaudiana are 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose. We have estimated the dietary exposure of consumers at the maximum levels proposed by the applicant and have concluded that there are no public health and safety concerns. Comment is invited.

Review of cyclamate permissions

(Proposal P287 – Draft Assessment)

A FSANZ-commissioned survey in 2004 on the consumption of intense sweeteners in Australia and New Zealand concluded that the estimated dietary exposure of some consumers of cyclamate products for retail sale exceeded the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for cyclamate. The major contributors to estimated dietary cylcamate exposures were water-based flavoured drinks (eg. soft drinks, cordials). We are therefore intending to reduce the maximum permitted level for cyclamates in water-based flavoured drinks and to allow the use of cyclamates in tabletop sweeteners. We believe these measures will protect the public health and safety of consumers. We invite comment from all interested parties.

Submissions: FSANZ welcomes public comment from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers. Details of all the assessments above can be found on www.foodstandards.gov.au. Submissions close on 4 July 2007.

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