Food Standards Australia New Zealand has been awarded a grant to establish an international food safety forum.
The almost AU $500,000 (U.S. $363,000) award was announced by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
FSANZ hopes that it will include Australia, China and the Republic of Korea before possibly adding other members.
David Hazlehurst, deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, stated that the forum would foster cooperation in the Asia Pacific region.
“FSANZ will bring these countries together to organize cooperation between food safety authorities across countries,” he stated.
” The forum will seek to identify areas where countries can collaborate on food safety projects. These projects should promote science and risk-based methods, be consistent with international standards, and benefit trade. FSANZ will be able to collaborate with other countries in projects that support bilateral trade between markets .”
The agency evaluated four regulatory and non-regulatory options in each sector to determine a way to improve food safety management, and to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses.
FSANZ prefers to use a combination regulatory and non-regulatory actions on-farm as well as during initial processing to ensure food safety.
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code will be amended to include a primary product and processing standard for these three sectors. Guidance would also be created to assist businesses in understanding and complying with the standards.
Sandra Cuthbert is FSANZ interim CEO. She said that the agency took into account a number of factors when assessing applicants.
” We considered food safety risks, foodborne illness costs, coverage of industry schemes, lack of a national approach and cost-benefit when reviewing the options in each sector,” she stated.
” The food safety management procedures included in the draft standards would be aligned with existing industry food safety programs to allow for cost-effective implementation by companies already participating in these schemes. The proposed standards would provide a level playing ground for businesses to manage food safety, and increase consumer confidence in the safety this fresh produce .
All FSANZ decisions regarding proposals to update or develop standards are notified to the Ministers responsible for food regulations in Australia and New Zealand, who then decide if it should be made law.
Interested parties may submit comments to the proposed measures up to Feb. 9, 2022.
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