Food regulation news and developments - 1 July 2019
1. Australian Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture has advised brokers and importers of paprika, dried pepper, dried capsicum and dried chilli about changes to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme (IFIS) Community Protection profile questions.
From 13 July 2019 questions are changed to remove the reference to #pepper and #paprika that is RTE without further cooking. These questions were previously included so products that will undergo further processing including heat treatment, were not referred for testing. However, a review of the responses to these questions showed that products that require testing were not being referred.
Products excluded from the testing are limited to those being imported for manufacturing purposes. For example, pepper in bulk containers for non-retail sale that will only be used as an ingredient in products that will be cooked. The department will now require a written declaration for an exemption from the testing to be granted. The new #IFIS CP questions will replace the two existing questions and will be:
IFIS: Are the goods pepper or peppercorn?
IFIS: Are the goods paprika, dried chilli, dried capsicum or other dried fruits of the genus capsicum or pimenta?
If accompanied by a written declaration, goods that are for further processing involving heat treatment may be exempt from Salmonella testing.
2. #FSANZ calls for submissions on the Assessment of the following Applications by 6pm 18 July 2019 (Canberra time)
A1163 - Food Irradiation definition of herbs and spices: to vary Food Standard 1.5.3 Irradiation of Food to remove the reference to Schedule 22 in relation to the definition of Herbs and Spices.
A1164 - Pullulanase from Bacillus licheniformis as a processing aid (Enzyme): to seek approval for the use of Pullulanase from a recombinant strain of Bacillus licheniformis as a processing aid in food.
3. FSANZ calls for submissions on the Assessment of the following Application by 6pm 30 July 2019 (Canberra time):
A1169 - Alpha-glucosidase from Trichoderma reesei as a PA (enzyme): to permit the use of Alpha-glucosidase enzyme from A Recombinant Strain of Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid.
4. FSANZ published amendments to the #ANZFSC following the following Applications and Proposals:
Further information is available on the FSANZ website at http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/code/changes/gazette/Pages/default.aspx.
5. Amendment to Schedule 20 – Maximum residue limits (#MRLs) [Australia only]
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has notified FSANZ of applications or variations to the APVMA MRL Standard that the APVMA considers will likely result in variations to Schedule 20 if they are granted.
More information on these notifications is available from our maximum residue limits page.
Calls for public comment - Proposed variations to Schedule 20
6. FSANZ accepts LANXESS Deutschland GmbH Application A1180 Natural Glycolipids (long chain glycolipids from Dacryopinax spathularia) as a preservative in non-alcoholic beverages
FSANZ will provide an opportunity to comment at a future date.
In May 2019 a study was released proposing a link between titanium dioxide particles and inflammatory bowel diseases and bowel cancer. FSANZ has reviewed the study and determined it does not change our previous assessment of titanium dioxide. The study's deficiencies in design and reporting also limit its utility for regulatory purposes. TiO2 has been tested in long-term carcinogenicity studies in rats and mice, in which TiO2 was fed in the diet at concentrations sufficient to cause white faeces. These studies found no evidence of inflammatory changes or induction of tumours. Read FSANZ’s critique of the study.
8. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) Failing Imported Foods Report (April 2019)
This report details food that was found to fail under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme during the month of April 2019. For full data on activity and compliance under the Scheme refer to the six monthly Imported Food Inspection Data reports.
DAWR targets and monitors food determined to pose a high or medium risk to public health. Risk food is targeted at the rate of 100 per cent until a history of food safety compliance is established. When an emerging human health and safety hazard is identified in food, the department may temporarily increase monitoring and testing. This is referred to as advisory food. More information on risk food and the tests applied under the IFIS can be found on the Tests applied to risk food webpages.
9. FSANZ highlighted media issues over June 2019
Channel nine says experts are warning people to take food allergies seriously, revealing that tests showed a number of meals had allergens that were not mean to be in them.
Meanwhile a national health campaign was launched on Monday to educate parents and care providers on the latest recommendations on how to introduce common allergens to babies.
The Conversation has a piece on the health star rating system, with the authors outlining what they say needs to change.
Consumer group Choice is also demanding an overhaul of the health star rating system. Nine news has the story.
GE Free New Zealand has issued a media release casting doubt on FSANZ’s decision making process for genetically modified foods.