Food Ministers’ Meeting communiqué – 5 August 2022

Communiqué of outcomes from the Food Ministers’ Meeting held on 5 August 2022.

The Food Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) met on Friday 5 August 2022 via video conference to consider food regulation and policy matters. The FMM is chaired by the Hon. Ged Kearney MP and comprises all Australian and New Zealand Ministers responsible for food. The Australian Local Government Association and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) attended the meeting as observers.

Ministers remain committed to the three priorities of the Food Regulation System (the System):

  • Reducing foodborne illness, particularly related to Campylobacter and Salmonella.
  • Supporting the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity.
  • Maintaining a strong, robust and agile Food Regulation System through an ambitious reform agenda, to be progressed in conjunction with the review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.

Key outcomes from the meeting

Composition and labelling of electrolyte drinks

In 2014, FSANZ prepared Proposal P1030 – Composition and Labelling of Electrolyte Drinks to assess whether formulated supplementary sports foods (FSSF), electrolyte drinks and electrolyte drink bases should be permitted to carry health claims consistent with their intended purpose related to strenuous physical activity. The Proposal’s approach was revised in in 2021 to reflect stakeholder submissions and concerns around proposed changes.

At today’s meeting, the FMM did not request a review of the draft variation to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).

Approval of the Proposal provides clarity, supports product innovation for the electrolyte drinks category, enabling consumers to make informed choices. The amendments also reflect current public health policy to reduce the amount of sugar contained in sugar sweetened beverages.

Primary production and processing requirements for horticulture (berries, leafy vegetables and melons)

In 2018, Ministers noted the increase of foodborne illness outbreaks and asked FSANZ to reassess food safety risk management across several horticultural sectors.

The focus of Proposal P1052 was food safety in primary production and processing of fresh berries, leafy vegetables and melons. The outcome of the FSANZ assessment was to introduce a combination of regulatory and non-regulatory measures. Further details of the FSANZ assessment can be found on their website. The regulatory measures are 3 new primary production and processing standards in the Code for berries, leafy vegetables and melons.

At today’s meeting, the FMM did not request a review of the draft variation to the Code.

The new standards provide nationally consistent, outcomes-based requirements for primary producers and primary processors of the 3 commodity groups.

Ministers also agreed that a list of leafy vegetables to be used by jurisdictions to give effect to Standard 4.2.8 will be subject to a decision by the Food Regulation Standing Committee with FMM informed of this decision should there be any updates.

Next meeting

Ministers with responsibility for food will meet again in September.

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  • Food regulation system