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Advisory Committee Novel Foods

Terms of Reference

1. Consider enquiries in relation to potential novel foods (in conjunction with the required data), including previously considered enquiries in relation to potential novel foods where new data has been submitted.

2. Make recommendations to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) General Manager – Food Standards (Wellington) in response to enquiries in relation to potential novel foods. The recommendations should contain the following advice:

(a) Whether the food that is the subject of the enquiry should be considered a ‘non-traditional food’ in accordance with the definition in Standard 1.5.1.

(b) Whether an assessment of public health and safety considerations should be required for the food that is the subject of the enquiry to confirm that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the intended use of the food and to decide whether any risk management strategies are warranted to ensure the safe use of the food. In preparing this recommendation, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods (ACNF) would in effect, be performing a preliminary hazard identification step in the context of the risk analysis framework. If the recommendation is made that an assessment of public health and safety considerations is required, this equates to a view that the food meets the definition of ‘novel food’ in Standard 1.5.1 and therefore an application would be required to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), before the food could be sold in Australia or New Zealand.

(c) Whether the enquirer should make an application to FSANZ to amend the Code in order for an assessment of public health and safety considerations to be undertaken.

Where consensus is not reached, the majority view will be put forward in the recommendations to the FSANZ General Manager – Food Standards (Wellington) and alternative views will be noted.

3.  Use the guidance tool in forming recommendations.

4.  Agree to provide a draft letter in response to the enquiry, to the FSANZ General Manager – Food Standards (Wellington) to accompany the recommendations.

5.  Agree to minutes of previous meetings.

6.  Agree to the placement of views in relation to whether a food is ‘non-traditional’ and whether an assessment of public health and safety considerations is required, and the justification for this view, on the FSANZ website. 

7.  If a question arises as to whether a product or substance may be more appropriately regulated as a therapeutic good rather than a food, the issue is to be referred to the trans-Tasman Food-Medicine Interface Group* for consideration and advice.  The trans-Tasman Food-Medicine Interface Group may refer the matter back to the ACNF if it is considered the product or substance is more appropriately regulated as a food.  The consideration as to whether a substance is a food within the meaning of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (the FSANZ Act) (as opposed to a therapeutic good), is a threshold question that will be considered prior to the ACNF using the guidance tool to form recommendations. 

 

Membership

The membership of the ACNF and the role of each member on the ACNF are as follows:

FSANZ membership 

Member

Role

Chief Scientist (or their delegate)

Chair

Senior Risk Manager

Secretariat

Risk Management Advice (ToR 1, 2(a), (c), 3-7)

Principal Toxicologist (or their delegate)

Scientific advice on safety (ToR 1, 2(b), 3-7)

Senior Toxicologist/Senior Food Scientist

Scientific advice on safety (ToR 1, 2(b), 3-7)

Social scientist

To assist with the interpretation of ‘non-traditional food’ in accordance with the definition and the guidance tool (ToR 1, 2 (a), 3-7)

 

Advice will be sought from Office of Legal Counsel, Principal Food Technologist, Principal Nutritionist, Principal Microbiologist, Standards Management Officer or other relevant expertise on an as-needs basis, but they are not members of the ACNF. These FSANZ staff members may be requested to attend particular meetings of the ACNF and provide specific input when requested, which will then form part of the recommendations to the FSANZ General Manager - Food Standards (Wellington).

 

Jurisdictional and NZFSA membership

The role of each of these representatives is to:

1. Assist with the recommendation on whether the food, the subject of the enquiry should be considered a ‘non-traditional food’ in accordance with the definition in Standard 1.5.1 (ToR 2(a)), as well as addressing ToR 1, 3-7.

2. Raise issues related to enforcement for discussion.

3. To bring issues to the ACNF related to potential novel foods.



* Australia and New Zealand have separate Food-Medicine interface groups .

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