Australia New Zealand Food Authority Food Standards The Australia New Zealand Food Authority advises progress on the following applications and proposals for the development or variation of standards in the Australian Food Standards Code. You can get further information on each of these matters in information papers which are available from: The Information Officer Australia New Zealand Food Authority P.O. Box 10-559 The Terrace WELLINGTON 6036 NEW ZEALAND Telephone: (04) 473 9942 Facsimile: (04) 473 9855 Application Rejected The authority has conducted a full assessment of the following application and has decided to reject it for the reasons given below: Cheeses made from Unpasteurised Fresh Milk (A270). An application from the Australian Specialist Cheesemaker's Association to permit the use of fresh milk that has not been pasteurised or subjected to another heat treatment prior to cheesemaking, in the making of both hard dry, and soft moist specialty cheeses. The authority has rejected the application for the following reasons: the consumption of raw milk cheeses may present a significant public health risk as such cheeses may be contaminated with human pathogens and, if consumed, can cause serious illness or death particularly among pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people who are immunosuppressed; consumers do not expect food which poses a significant risk to public health and safety to be freely available and therefore requiring a warning statement on raw milk cheeses would not adequately convey the extremity of the risk; permitting the sale of raw milk cheeses may promote trade for a specialist sector of the cheese industry but it could also have a negative impact on the greater dairy food market for two reasons: (1) the safety reputation of Australia and New Zealand exports would be compromised; and (2) a food poisoning would adversely affect the whole market. retaining a prohibition on the sale of cheeses made from raw milk would not be inconsistent with international standards; and the risk to public health of consumption of raw milk cheeses could be significantly reduced through the implementation of a Code of Practice incorporating HACCP principles. However, at present, neither the Australian Specialist Cheesemaker's Association nor any other body that the authority is aware of, is in a position to develop and implement such a code. If a code was to be satisfactorily developed and supported throughout the industry and health agencies then there may be grounds to review the existing restriction on the use of unpasteurised milk for cheesemaking. Matters at Inquiry. The authority will conduct inquiries into the variations to standards prepared at full assessment of the following applications and proposals: Maximum Residue Limits (A330). An application from the National Registration Authority to delete Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for a number of agricultural chemicals which no longer have registered or permitted uses in Australia. In accordance with the transitional arrangements for food standards between Australia and New Zealand, individual country MRLs for agricultural and veterinary chemicals continue to apply for these standards and this application proposes changes for MRLs in Australia only. Alcohol Requirements for Vanilla Essence (A334). An application from Queen Fine Foods Pty Limited to delete the requirement that the solvent used to extract vanilla beans is aqueous ethyl alcohol, and that vanilla essence contain a minimum of 50 percent ethyl alcohol. In respect to these two applications the authority is satisfied that the applications raise issues of minor significance and complexity and that to omit to invite public submissions prior to making full assessments would not adversely affect the interests of any person or body. An application for a review of these decisions may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal by any person whose interests are affected by the decisions to omit to invite public submissions prior to the authority making full assessments. Cadmium in Food (P144). A proposal to review the maximum permitted concentrations (MPCs) of cadmium in all foods. In accordance with the transitional arrangements for food standards between Australia and New Zealand, individual country MPCs for cadmium continue to apply and this proposal proposes changes for MPCs in Australia only. You are invited to present written submissions to the authority on matters relevant to these 3 inquiries, including the potential regulatory impact on consumers, industry and government, by 14 May 1997. Country of Origin Labelling (P90). A proposal to regulate country of origin labelling of food. The authority has completed an interim inquiry of the proposal and has prepared draft variations to the Australian Food Standards Code. The authority will now continue its inquiry to consider the draft variations. You are invited to present written submissions to the authority on matters relevant to this inquiry, including the potential regulatory impact on consumers, industry and government by 30 May 1997. Matters Before Council The authority has completed an inquiry into the variations to standards prepared at full assessment of the following application and has made a recommendation to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council that the variations be adopted into the Australian Food Standards Code: Ergot in Cereal Grains (A303). An application from the Bread Research Institute of Australia to provide for an appropriate and realistic tolerance level for ergot in cereal products.