Food Ministers’ Meeting communiqué – 14 May 2021

Communiqué of outcomes from the Food Ministers’ Meeting held on 14 May 2021.

The Food Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), previously known as the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, met on Friday 14 May 2021 via video conference to consider food regulation and policy matters. The FMM comprises all Australian and New Zealand Ministers responsible for food and is chaired by Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck. It was noted that Tasmania is operating under caretaker conventions and did not participate in decision making at this meeting.

Ministers noted that this is the first meeting of FMM and Ministers reinforced their commitment to continue to meet under this new arrangement to discuss important food regulatory matters into the future.

Key outcomes from the meeting

Aspirations for the food regulatory system

Ministers considered the draft Aspirations for Australia and New Zealand’s Food Regulatory system. Ministers supported the use of the draft aspirations in guiding the direction for the modernisation reform work of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation System, however only agreed to adopt these Aspirations as draft.

Ministers noted that the draft Aspirations are currently provided to inform public consultation relating to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act) review and may be updated based on this. Ministers will re-consider the draft Aspirations following stakeholder feedback and consideration of the policy options on key reform initiatives.

It is anticipated that policy options on key reform initiatives will be developed and provided for consideration of Ministers later in 2021.

Ambitious reform and the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 review timing

Ministers remain committed to the ambitious reform agenda for the Food Regulation System being implemented through key activities including:

  • the review of the Food Regulation Agreement
  • work on jurisdictional consistency
  • the review of the Operations of the System.

The current FSANZ Act Review is a closely related activity that must be progressed in close alignment with these activities. Today Ministers discussed the timing of the FSANZ Act Review as well as the progress of the other ambitious reform activities.

Ministers agreed it is important to ensure consideration of the FSANZ Act Review occurs alongside the other reform projects. This will support better alignment of policy directions of the complete reform package to ensure a cohesive regulatory, legislative and operational basis for a modernised system.

Next meeting

Ministers with responsibility for food will continue to meet as required to make decisions on food regulatory matters.

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