Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today invited industry, governments, health professionals and consumers to provide information and advice on a number of proposed changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
This Code contains food standards that determine what manufacturers can put in the food supply and the information they have to supply consumers on food labels.
Food manufacturers have applied for approval to use a number of processing aids, including octanoic acid on meat and vegetables and an ice-structuring protein in ice cream and edible ices, and to define the term ‘wholegrain’, introduce food from a new insect-protected and herbicide resistant GM corn and reduce the energy factor assigned to maltitol in food.
FSANZ has also raised proposals of its own to review the cyclamate permissions in all foods, to investigate the mandatory fortification of foods with folic acid and to review the labelling requirements for the minimum reference age of infant foods.
Reports for each of the Applications and Proposals below can be found on the FSANZ website at www.foodstandards.gov.au.
The reports fall into two categories: Initial Assessment reports, which are essentially issues papers, and Draft Assessment reports which contain FSANZ’s assessment of safety and other issues, possible management options and a draft food standard based on FSANZ’s preferred option.
The closing date for submission P295 (below) is 17 December 2004. The other submissions close 1 December 2004.
Consideration of mandatory fortification with folic acid (Proposal P295 – Initial Assessment)
In May 2004, the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council adopted a Policy Guideline on Fortification of Food with Vitamins and Minerals. Ministers have asked FSANZ to investigate mandatory fortification with folic acid as a possible means of reducing the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in babies. This Proposal has a specific objective of determining the most effective way of increasing dietary folate intake in pregnant women and women expecting to become pregnant to reduce the incidence of NTDs from current levels of about 11.5 per 10,000 births in Australia and 9.1 per 10,000 births in New Zealand.
The Initial Assessment report should be consulted for an overview of issues associated with the Proposal and for a summary of options available for implementing mandatory folate fortification.