Download our Corporate Plan 2018-19 (pdf 566kb)
Food regulation is essential to provide a level of public health and safety that domestic and international communities expect. Effective food regulation gives confidence that the food that we buy is safe to consume as part of a normal diet and facilitates domestic and international trade by reducing uncertainty and commercial risk.
The effectiveness of our joint food regulation system and the safety of our food products contribute significantly to Australia and New Zealand’s excellent reputation in international trade, supporting exports around the world.
The independently developed and scientifically-based standards developed by FSANZ establish a foundation for the food regulation system and support a successful food industry in both countries, providing a clear set of laws for all food businesses. Strong, effective and risk-based regulations contribute to the economic success of food industries in both countries.
The cooperative food regulation system brings many levels of government together, each having different responsibilities. FSANZ is often seen as the public face of that system at a national level and is seen by many consumers and industry as the principal agency responsible for assuring confidence in food. This can be challenging in an environment where technology is changing rapidly, international food supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and consumer expectations are high. The newly refreshed FSANZ Board and staff have taken on the challenges of meeting broad expectations and determining how FSANZ might position itself to meet these challenges. The Board has started its consideration of the possibilities for improving food regulation structures in a way that makes the most of FSANZ’s capability and capacity.
Our role is, primarily, the development of, and the provision of information about, food regulatory measures (standards). We are also the coordinator of recalls and incidents and have a general role in promoting the cooperative system of food regulation.
Ministers responsible for food regulation have set three priorities for the food regulation system: reducing foodborne illness, promoting healthy eating and making regulation effective. The priorities complement the ongoing management of the mature cooperative food regulation systems of Australia and New Zealand.
This Corporate Plan describes the substantial contribution we will make in 2018‒19 to supporting the cooperative food regulation system to meet its priority objectives. In particular, and in line with the ministerial priorities, we will work with food regulators and industry to develop a national salmonella and campylobacter strategy, undertake nutrition projects as part of regulatory assistance for broader public health nutrition and obesity campaigns and make greater use of economics and other social sciences to ensure the fitness for purpose of food standards. The plan also describes how we will undertake a broader range of activity that is related to our core functions.
Robyn Kruk AM
Chief Executive Officer
The primary role of governments in food regulation is to protect public health and safety.
Food laws, including food standards, provide assurance about the quality, safety and suitability of food. A proactive approach to protecting public health and safety builds consumer confidence and supports a robust food industry and trade in food.
FSANZ as an independent agency sets one foundation of the system by developing food standards that are informed by the best available evidence and enable efficient implementation of food laws. We also provide independent food standards information—advice to regulators and information about food standards to all stakeholders, including consumers. Finally, we bring the system’s main players together by coordinating some of their regulatory responses.
We are established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 and are overseen by a Board appointed by the Australian Government.
The cooperative food regulation system
The Australian and New Zealand joint food regulation system is a strong system, based on scientific evidence and expertise, that protects the health and safety of consumers. It is a complex system that involves all levels of government in Australia and New Zealand and engages national governments. Different roles are met by local, state and national government, and international obligations are respected. Within Australia, food regulation is a state and territory responsibility.
The system balances the requirements of many businesses and stakeholders in the food supply chain to assure food safety while providing a firm platform on which our food industries can operate, and enables better informed choice for consumers.
Food regulation is a shared responsibility of national (Australia and New Zealand) and state and territory governments. The food regulation system is a cooperative arrangement that has four objectives:
- a high degree of consumer confidence in the quality and safety of food
- an effective, transparent and accountable regulatory framework in which the food industry can work efficiently
- adequate information in relation to food to enable consumers to make informed choices, and
- common rules for Australia and New Zealand and the promotion of consistency between domestic and international
- food regulatory measures without reducing safeguards applying to public health and consumer protection.
The broad operation and principles of the system are described in the Food Regulation Agreement and the Joint Food Standards Agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
The operating principles of the food regulatory system, and the implications for us, are:
- Food regulation policy is established by the Ministerial Forum for Food Regulation (the Forum), which is advised by the Food Regulation Steering Committee (FRSC), a committee of government officials. The Forum has established overarching priorities for the system, which we will implement as the core of its strategy.
- National, state and territory governments exercise the regulatory function of the system through their laws and agencies. We are not a regulator and have no regulatory capacity.
- We develop the food standards that become part of food laws. We are also a source of independent technical advice for the regulators in the food regulation system.
There is a clear line of consistency between the system objectives that are set out in the Agreements and the FSANZ Act, the ministerial priorities and our strategic role.
A high degree of consumer confidence in the quality and safety of food
|Reduce foodborne illness
||Principal risk analysis adviser to the cooperative Australia and New Zealand food regulation system|
|The provision of adequate information in relation to food to enable consumers to make informed choices
||Supporting public health initiatives, to support the reduction of chronic disease related to obesity and overweight
||An authoritative and independent voice in providing information to consumers of food in Australia and New Zealand|
|An effective, transparent and accountable regulatory framework in which the food industry can work efficiently
The establishment of common rules for Australia and New Zealand and the promotion of consistency between domestic and international food regulatory measures without reducing safeguards applying to public health and consumer protection
|Maintaining a strong, robust and agile food regulation system; giving confidence to consumers that food is safe and that the system can manage new and innovative industry approaches
||A leader in promoting efficient regulation of the sale of food |
An efficient and expert developer of international and domestic food standards
FSANZ was established to perform a coordinating role in the system. Our functions, which are set out in the FSANZ Act, are developing food regulatory measures, also known as food standards and codes of practice; providing advice to the food regulators; coordinating some regulatory activities across the system and providing information to consumers about food standards. We also have an advisory role for governments.
Developing food standards
Our main function is to develop and provide information about food standards. These standards, which become part of the legislation in the jurisdictions, provide confidence in our food supply by providing assurance that complying foods are safe and suitable.
This year, we will complete a proposal to vary food standards for novel foods and nutritive substances. These are foods that consumers require a higher level of assurance about because, as new foods, there is no history of safe consumption. We will also progress reviews of the food safety requirements and the primary production and processing standards in Chapters 3 and 4 of the Code. Our objective is to simplify these standards to ensure that food safety is achieved in the most efficient way. The standard for food produced using gene technology is being reviewed to ensure it provides the necessary and appropriate assurance in relation to new breeding technologies. Much of our work is underpinned by our data and analysis systems and this year we will finalise the development of our nutrient composition database.
Providing advice and coordinating regulatory responses
Confidence in our food supply is also a product of effective response systems that remove unsafe food from sale quickly and ensure a rapid response to food-related disease incidents. Strong and cooperative relationships between the incident response coordinator, the enforcement agencies and food businesses are essential to a system that effectively communicates to the public.
To drive continued improvement in this cooperative system, we have developed a food safety culture partnership. This partnership brings industry, enforcement agencies and FSANZ together to promote effective food safety culture in food businesses. In 2018‒19 we will continue working with our partners on the partnership and promoting resources to businesses. We will also run an exercise to test the national incident management system and business’s capacity to respond effectively.
This year we will play a leading role in developing work to reduce the level of foodborne illness in Australia. We will also commence a substantial project to revise the Australia-only food safety standards, in Chapters 3 and 4 of the Code, and related microbiological limit standards.
Providing information about food standards
We recognise that ensuring high standards of food safety is only part of the work required to maintain confidence in food. We live in an information rich society that demands accurate information to enable personal choice. One of our primary functions is to provide information about the food standards that we have developed and that underpin the provision of safe food.
We also provide information about food and food regulation for all stakeholders, to explain the broader context in which food standards operate. We will participate in, and, as appropriate, lead domestic and international food-related policy development and the advancement of food-related knowledge.
This year we will work with food regulators to better explain the food regulatory system and to provide the accurate information required by consumers. This work will help build industry compliance and consumer awareness and enhance confidence in labelling as a source of information about food safety and quality.
Our performance will be assessed by examining and evaluating our contribution to the effective operation of the multi-jurisdictional food regulatory system. Governments in that system lead the development of food regulation policy and are responsible for most of its implementation, with FSANZ providing cohesion and leadership, principally as a source of expert scientific advice. The FSANZ Act provides an extensive list of measures that must be reported annually to describe the effectiveness of our work to perform our functions.
We will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the ministerial priorities, for example, by working with the food regulators and industry sectors, such as the poultry industry, to develop a salmonella and campylobacter strategy; by undertaking nutrition projects as part of the regulatory response to assist broader public health campaigns and by expanding our use of data about consumer behaviour and government and industry costs in order to ensure the efficiency of food regulatory measures. Our performance in advancing the system priorities will be a part of the measuring of success of the priorities. We will work closely with other areas of the food regulatory system to develop metrics that will enable us to measure our own contribution.
We are reviewing the contribution that the agency can make in recognition of the fast changing food system and consumer, industry and government expectations. This review will consider measures of success in the food regulation system, to which we believe FSANZ can make a more significant contribution. FSANZ is reviewing its longer term strategies, in conjunction with key stakeholders, to identify the resources and metrics that will be required for us to expand and improve our performance at the helm of the food regulation system.
A longitudinal measure of performance is provided in the annual performance statement, which contains measures related to our basic functions and complements the quantitative measures listed in the FSANZ Act.
||Examples of performance measures
||Examples of evidence|
|Develop food standards
||Food standards are developed within statutory times
Food standards are developed with regard to food regulation policy
|Applications are finalised within the statutory consideration period
The Forum does not seek review of any standard developed by us on the ground that the developed standard does not have regard to food regulation policy
|Data is collected about the progress of all applications |
Feedback from Forum
|Coordinate regulatory activity
||Manage the operation of the Bi-national Food Safety Network and coordinate major food incidents under the National Food Incident Protocol
||Jurisdictions provide positive commentary on our coordination activity at incident evaluation
||Jurisdictional views at post-incident evaluation|
||Food recalls are effectively coordinated through information sharing and the use of the Food Industry Recall Protocol and Government Food Protocol
||ISFR provides positive commentary on our coordination activity
||Records of ISFR Incident Response Working Group discussions|
||Examples of performance measures
||Examples of evidence|
|Coordinate regulatory activity
Industry satisfaction with food recall coordination
Results of survey of industry recall participants
A majority of stakeholders are satisfied with the level of engagement and quality of information
||Advisory group meetings including Consumer and Public Health Dialogue meetings and Retailers and Manufacturers Liaison meetings
Two meetings with each group conducted each year
Record of meetings
Ongoing increase in website unique visitors
Ongoing increases in social media interactions
Social media and website analytics
These measures are relevant for all four reporting periods covered by this Corporate Plan.
In a world in which food risks can emerge quickly and advances in knowledge or innovation can change our understanding of both hazard and risk, we have to be able to respond promptly and proportionately.
Our Risk Management Framework ensures that staff can effectively identify, monitor and respond to food safety and food-related public health issues in a transparent and coordinated manner that applies internationally recognised risk analysis methodology. In day-to-day operations we also manage this risk using an emerging risk framework and through strategic communication activities.
Our Science Strategy aims to build scientific capability, evidence and collaboration, by:
- improving scientific capacity and expertise
- improving risk assessment processes and methodologies
growing our capacity to generate and/or improve access to data and information
improving our data collection, storage, analysis and reporting systems
developing productive partnerships with key national and international organisations
collaborating effectively with our stakeholders to share knowledge, advice and information.
Our People Strategy ensures we have the capability and capacity to achieve our purposes and adapt to meet a changing strategic environment.
The themes of the Strategy are workforce and succession planning; learning and development; performance and diversity.
All staff have a role in communication and stakeholder engagement. Our strategy aims to manage the different ways of communicating and make the best use of our extensive information. We will also contribute to assess our performance in those areas.
The Communication and Engagement Strategy identifies a growing reliance on our website and social media to communicate efficiently with diverse audiences and the importance of more clearly explaining our risk management decisions. It also highlights the need for further stakeholder research and liaison to help extend our reach into the broader community.
Appropriateness and effectiveness of governance and processes
The Board and Executive use our Corporate Governance Framework for good governance. In addition:
the Board sets strategic direction and oversees the agency’s performance
senior management guides and monitors our work
management and staff disclose all material matters in a timely and accurate manner
policies are used to manage our relationships with stakeholders—including employees, Parliament, industry, consumer and health groups and the public.
The risk context
We manage risk (including enterprise risks) through our Risk Management Framework.
Risk appetite is the level of risk an organisation is prepared to accept in pursuing its objectives, and before action is deemed necessary to reduce the risk.
We have a moderate appetite for risks associated with achieving our strategies.
Food-related public health and safety is a shared responsibility of the Australian, New Zealand and state and territory governments, industry and consumers. We are responsible for developing food regulatory measures, for providing information and scientific assessments and for coordinating regulatory activities in consultation with, or at the request of, Australian or New Zealand jurisdictions.
In the context of the shared responsibilities for food-related public health and safety and the potential for serious harm from food incidents, we have a low appetite for risk.
We are a corporate entity and the Board is responsible under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 for managing resources.
The Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee advises the Board on enterprise risks.
In our corporate operations, we have a low appetite for risk.
|Our purpose and functons
Support the food regulatory system to build consumer confidence, protect public health and safety and enable a robust food industry, by:
- Developing food standards
- Providing expert advice and coordinating regulatory responses
- Providing information about food standards
|Our operating environment
||The overarching priorities of the cooperative food regulation system are: food safety, particularly microbiological contamination; supporting public health initiatives, particularly relating to obesity and overweight; and maintaining strong food regulation|
contribute to the system wide priority of reducing microbiological contamination, particularly salmonella and campylobacter, and revise microbiological limits
provide nutrition advice to support public health initiatives
revise the Code’s food safety requirements and primary production and processing standards
revise the commodity list for residue limits
complete a review of the regulation of the products of new breeding techniques
- complete a proposal to vary food standards dealing with novel foods and nutritive substances
- finalise the development of SILO (our nutrient composition database).
Our five key
Risk: An anticipative approach to managing risk: the Risk Management Framework
Science: Robust evidence and sustained, high quality scientific capability: The Science Strategy
People: Dedicated people with a broad spread of specialist disciplines: The People Strategy
Communication: A broad communication capability: The Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
Governance: Good governance and effective processes: The Governance Framework
||Professional; inclusive; proactive and responsive; leading, collaborative; transparent; innovative; creative and consistent|