Priorities

What the food regulation priorities are, how they are decided and why they are important.

How the priorities are decided

The food ministers consider input from the food committees and stakeholders when deciding the priorities for the food regulation system. 

They agreed to the current 3 priorities in April 2017:

  • reduce foodborne illness
  • reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity
  • maintain a strong and agile food regulation system.

Reduce foodborne illness

About the priority

This priority aims to reduce foodborne illness, especially from Campylobacter and Salmonella.

The Food Ministers’ Meeting launched Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 20182021+ in 2018. 

The strategy focuses on: 

  • encouraging a culture of food safety 
  • sector-based initiatives (horticulture, poultry, eggs and food service) 
  • consumer and industry information
  • research
  • monitoring and surveillance 
  • national engagement. 

Why it was chosen

Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, and illness from Salmonella has increased in the past 20 years. Compared to similar countries we have one of the highest rates of salmonellosis. 

For campylobacteriosis, it is estimated that each year in Australia there are about: 

  • 230,000 cases of illness 
  • 3,200 hospitalisations 
  • 3 deaths. 

For salmonellosis, it is estimated that each year in Australia there are about: 

  • 56,000 cases of illness 
  • 2,100 hospitalisations 
  • 15 deaths. 

Stakeholders also provided input into this priority.

Why it is important

Reducing these foodborne illnesses will have a significant effect on:

  • minimising foodborne illness rates
  • related suffering, hospitalisations and death.

Current activities

We are working with industry sectors to support this priority. View the current activities to reduce foodborne illness.

Reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity

About the priority

This priority supports the public health objectives to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity.

It involves several objectives:

  • Explore how to improve the composition and healthfulness of the food supply.
  • Develop options to strengthen restrictions on advertising of unhealthy food and drinks to children.
  • Explore data to inform, monitor and evaluate work.
  • Create nationally consistent menu labelling.
  • Work out what could improve commercial infant and toddler foods.

Why it was chosen

Poor diet and overweight and obesity are leading risk factors for chronic disease in Australia and New Zealand.

Food regulation can help to address this problem by: 

  • making it easier to choose healthy food
  • contributing to coordinated, multi-sectoral and population-wide strategies to improve diets.

This priority also aligns with the aims of the food regulation system.

Why it is important

Reducing chronic disease, overweight and obesity will help to:

  • improve population health
  • reduce related hospitalisations.

Current activities

View the current activities to reduce chronic disease related to overweight and obesity.

Maintain a strong, robust and agile food regulation system

About the priority

This priority aims to ensure the food regulation system is strong, robust and agile. It involves several objectives:

  • Ensure the new strategic planning process is based on evidence and informed by stakeholders.
  • Reform the food regulation system to ensure it remains, strong, robust and agile.
  • Review the operational process of the food regulation system.
  • Increase national consistency in areas of the food regulation system that save money for industry and governments.
  • Review the intergovernmental Food Regulation Agreement.
  • Develop a system for gathering information, data and evidence for use by the entire food regulation system.

Why it was chosen

The food regulation system operates in a complex environment with: 

  • changing consumer expectations
  • significant advances in technology. 

The time is right for a fundamental look at how the system works to guide future reforms.

Why it is important

The reform will ensure the food regulation system:

  • remains at the forefront of best-practice regulatory practice
  • delivers on the expectations of food ministers
  • addresses emerging frustrations with current laws.

Current activities

View the current activities to maintain a strong and agile food regulation system.

Date last updated:
Tags:
  • Food regulation system