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Food Standards Code - a quick guide

(January 2017)

The Food Standards Code includes standards for food additives, food safety, labelling and foods that need pre-approval such as GM foods.

The Code is divided into four chapters:
 
Chapter 1 - Introduction and standards that apply to all foods includes regulations that apply to most foods, e.g. labelling requirements, substances that can be added to food and safety of materials in contact with food. This chapter also includes permissions for new foods, limits for chemical and microbiological contaminants and maximum residue limits of veterinary and chemical residues in foods.
 
Chapter 2 - Food standards includes compositional requirements for specific foods e.g. meat, fish and alcoholic beverages.
 
Chapter 3 - Food safety standards includes requirements for food handlers wherever food is sold and applies only in Australia e.g. good food safety practices such as training staff, keeping food at the correct temperature, washing hands and keeping equipment clean.
 
Chapter 4 - Primary production standards also only applies in Australia. This chapter includes primary production and processing standards for agricultural commodities such as seafood, poultry meat, specific cheeses, wine and dairy products.

How is the Code changed?

Anyone can apply to change the code - find out how. FSANZ can also prepare proposals to change the code for a range of reasons including in response to a safety issue, or at the request of ministers responsible for food regulation.

Who enforces the Code?

Enforcement and interpretation of the Code is the responsibility of state and territory government departments and other food enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for inspecting and sampling imported food.

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