Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today called for public comment on a number of proposed food standards including iodine as a processing aid, a maximum iodine limit for formulated supplementary foods for young children, DHA rich oil derived from micro-algae as a novel food, food for special medical purposes and a number of maximum residue limits for agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
Developing food standards cannot be done in isolation, it is essential that consumers, industry and professional groups have their say in this process. The FSANZ process is unique in developing standards. We first go out for public comment with an initial assessment – this is essentially an issues paper. We then develop a draft assessment containing a draft food standard and, eventually, the final standard is agreed to by the FSANZ Board. If none of the members of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council seek a review of that standard it then becomes law.
Full details of these reports as well as a guide to how to submit is available on our website www.foodstandards.gov.au or by calling 02 6271 2241. Submission dates close on 15 September 2004.
Iodine as a Processing Aid (Application A493 – Draft Assessment)
Ioteq Limited has applied to FSANZ to approve the use of iodine as a processing aid under Standard 1.3.3 Processing Aids of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). Iodine has a long history of use as a water disinfectant, and is also used as a sanitising compound by the dairy industry. The purpose of this application is to seek approval for the use of iodine for the surface sanitisation of foods, specifically fruit, vegetables, nuts and eggs.
FSANZ has concluded that the use of iodine as a washing agent for fruit, vegetables, nuts and eggs is technologically justified and that the use of iodine as proposed is likely tomay result in an a small increase in iodine intake but not to a level that would raise any safety concerns or pose any adverse nutritional risks
DHA-rich Micro-algal Oil from Ulkenia sp. as a Novel Food (Application A522 – Draft Assessment)
Nutrinova Australasia Pty Ltd has applied to FSANZ to approve the use of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich oil derived from marine micro-algae (Ulkenia sp.). DHA is an omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid which has been identified as important part of the diet. DHA-rich dried marine micro-algae (Schizochytrium sp.) and DHA-rich oil derived from marine micro-algae (Schizochytrium sp.) have previously been approved as novel foods in Australia and New Zealand. FSANZ has concluded that there are no public health and safety concerns associated with the use of DHA-rich oil (Ulkenia sp.) in the range of foods and at the maximum levels proposed by the Applicant.
Maximum Iodine Limit in Formulated Supplementary Foods for Young Children (Application A528 – Draft Assessment)
Wyeth Australia Pty Limited has applied to FSANZ to increase the maximum permitted quantity of iodine per serving from 35 to 70 micrograms in formulated supplementary foods for young children aged 1 – 3 years. FSANZ has concluded that raise the levels of iodine to accommodate the natural variation of iodine in ingredients will not raise any safety concerns or cause any adverse nutritional risks in the target population.
Maximum Residue Limits (Applications A526, A535, A536, A538, A539 – Draft Assessments) (Australia only)
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has applied to FSANZ seeking to amend Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals in the Code. These applications include two antibiotics: Neomycin which is used to treat bacterial enteritis (scours) in cattle and pigs and Avilamycin which is used for the control of colibacillosis in pigs. The Expert Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance of the National Health and Medical Research Council have raised no objection to the proposed MRLs for these antibiotics.
Before FSANZ recommends an MRL we must be satisfied that the residues of the chemicals do not represent an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. FSANZ will not recommend a variation of the Food Standards Code to include an MRL if the estimated dietary intake of chemical residues by consumers shows an unacceptable risk to human health. Maximum residue limits do not indicate the amount of a chemical that is always present in a treated food, but it does indicate the highest residue that is legally allowed. FSANZ conducts the Australian Total Diet Survey regularly which shows that chemical residues in the Australian food supply are so low that they are often undetectable.
Food for Special Medical Purposes (Proposal P242 – Preliminary Final assessment)
As part of the transition into the joint Australian and New Zealand food regulatory system, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is required to complete the review and development of harmonised Australian and New Zealand regulations covering food for special medical purposes. These are formulated food products used under the supervision of medical or other health professionals for the dietary management of people with certain medical conditions, disease states or disability. They include ‘complete nutrition’ formulas intended for use as the sole source of nutrition, either consumed orally or through a naso-gastric tube, as well as specialised dietary supplement formulas or foods, and very low energy diet formulas used in the dietary management of morbid obesity.
Public consultation for Proposal P242 was conducted from 18 December 2002 to 24 March 2003. In addition, FSANZ has conducted targeted consultation with both industry and health professional stakeholders. Given the number and complexity of the issues raised at the last round of public comment, and the lapse in time since, FSANZ has included an additional round of public comment before preparing the final assessment.