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Food law, treaties and agreements

Food Standards Australia New Zealand is a statutory authority operating under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991.

The Act sets out the functions of FSANZ, including the development of food standards.

Under an inter-Governmental Agreement (1991) between the Commonwealth and states and territories, the states and territories adopt, without variation, food standards once they have been gazetted. Gazettal occurs after FSANZ decisions on standards are considered by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.

Ministers can ask FSANZ to review its decisions. Read more about the Forum process

The purpose of the 1991 agreement was to give responsibility for developing food standards to a specialist agency with the effect of ensuring uniformity of implementation of food standards across all states and territories.

Partnership with New Zealand

A Treaty between Australia and New Zealand (the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand concerning a Joint Food Standards System) gives effect to New Zealand's participation in the system and further specifies the role of FSANZ in relation to New Zealand. This agreement was signed in 1995 and has been updated several times since then.

On 1 July 1996, an agreement to establish a joint food setting system between Australia and New Zealand came into force. The joint arrangement aims to harmonise food standards between the two countries; reducing compliance costs for industry and helping to remove regulatory barriers to trade in food.

The agreement does not cover some areas of food regulation, such as maximum residue limits, food hygiene provisions and export requirements relating to third country trade. It also contains provisions which allow New Zealand to opt out of a joint standard for exceptional reasons relating to health, safety, environmental concerns or cultural issues. In such cases, FSANZ may be asked to prepare a variation to a standard to apply only in Australia.

The agreement requires that FSANZ and the New Zealand Minister for Food Safety conclude a funding and performance agreement annually. This agreement details the services FSANZ is to provide and includes quarterly performance reporting, details of New Zealand's contribution and the payment schedule.

Food regulation agreements 

On 3 November 2000, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) signed an Inter-Governmental Food Regulation Agreement (FRA) agreeing to a new food regulatory system. The Commonwealth of Australia and all the Australian states and territories are signatories to the Agreement. The FRA has been updated several times since 2000.

These reforms were brought about as a result of a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decision in November 2000 following consideration of the Food Regulation Review (Blair Report) that was presented to Government in August 1998.

Treaty documents and agreements etc relating to food regulation can be found on the food regulation website.

Food legislation

Australian legislation

Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991

Food Standards Australia New Zealand Regulations 1994

Imported Food Control Act 1992

New Zealand legislation

Food Act 2014

State and territory legislation


Food Act 2001 and Food Regulations 2002


Food Act 2003 and Food Regulation 2015


Food Act


Food Act 2006 and Food Regulation 2006

Food Production (Safety) Act 2000

Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014


Food Act 2001 and Food Regulations 2002


Food Act 2003 and Food Regulations 2012


Food Act 1984


Food Act 2008 and Food Regulations 2009

Page last updated 18 March 2024