Food Standards The Australia New Zealand Food Authority advises progress on the following matters relating to Food Standards. You can get further information on these matters in information papers available from: The Office Administrator, Australia New Zealand Food Authority, P.O. Box 10-559, WELLINGTON 6036. Telephone: (04) 473 9942. Facsimile: (04) 473 9855. email: nz.receptionanzfa.gov.au Matters at Full Assessment The authority has prepared the following proposals and will now make full assessments of them: Milk, Cream, Fermented Milks and Related Products (P185). A proposal to review regulations in Australia and New Zealand for these products. Cheese, Butter and Edible Oil Spreads (P186). A proposal to review regulations in Australia and New Zealand for cheese, butter and edible oil spreads. Matters at Inquiry The authority will conduct inquiries into the draft standards or variations to standards prepared at full assessment of the following: Representational Issues Claims about Food (P169). A proposal to review the regulations in Australia and New Zealand which regulate claims made about food. Fruit and Vegetables (P187). A proposal to review the regulations in Australia and New Zealand for fruit and vegetables (including nuts, spices, herbs, fungi, legumes and seeds). With respect to this proposal the authority is satisfied it raises issues of minor significance and complexity and that to omit to invite public submissions prior to making a full assessment will not have a significant adverse effect on the interests of any person or body. The authority has therefore decided to omit to invite public submissions prior to making a full assessment. You are invited to present written submissions to the authority on the above matters, including the potential regulatory impact on consumers, industry and government, by 30 November 1998. The information papers on these matters provide further information, including advice on the authority's policy regarding submissions. Matters Before Council The authority has made recommendations to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council relating to the following matters that variations be adopted into the Food Standards Code: Maximum Residue Limits (A331). The authority has completed an inquiry into the variations to standards prepared at full assessment of an application from the National Registration Authority to amend current maximum residue limits (MRLs) in Standard A14. 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 for food sold in Australia, whether imported or domestically produced. Folate/Neural Tube Defect (NTD) Health Claims (P184). The authority has undertaken a full assessment of a proposal to list products on the register of approved products to carry a folate/NTD health claim and to provide for changes to the amendment to Standard A1(19) previously made under Proposal P170. The authority has prepared draft variations to the standard, is satisfied that a recommendation should be made to council as a matter of urgency and therefore decided to omit to invite public submissions prior to making a full assessment and recommendation to council. If council accepts the authority's recommendation a further notice will be published by the authority inviting public submissions as part of its inquiry into the variation to the Food Standards Code which the authority will be obliged to do as soon as practicable after the adoption of the draft variations. Folate Health Claims The authority invites companies and industry associations to participate in a health claims pilot project to test the use of a health claim and its associated management framework. The pilot involves the use of a health claim that makes the link between increased maternal folate consumption and a reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects (NTD) such as spina bifida. The authority has completed its assessment of the first list of products recommended to be on the register of approved products to carry a folate/NTD health claim (see notice below - Proposal P184). It is anticipated that approved products will be available for public sale in Australia from mid November 1998. Further applications are now sought for other products to use an approved folate/NTD health claim and in order to meet the pilot's assessment and legislative timetable, should be received by the authority by 30 October 1998. Later applications will be accepted at any time and will be processed by the authority in a rolling program of assessments and recommendations. The conditions for participating as a food industry partner in the pilot and the application form to participate are contained in an application package available from the authority's information officer. Further information about the health claims pilot should be directed to Dr Hugh Baber on (04) 473 9942. Food Hygiene Standards The authority has produced a discussion paper Industry Guidelines for Australian Food Businesses. The paper outlines the development of sectoral food industry guidelines and their role in providing assistance to food businesses in complying with the requirements of the proposed Food Hygiene Standards. Copies of the discussion paper are available from the authority's information officer. You are invited to present written submissions to the authority on this matter by 12 November 1998. The authority also plans to release a discussion paper Development of a National Food Business Notification System by 23 October 1998. Copies of this discussion paper will be available from the authority's information officer from that date.