Food Standards Australia New Zealand is the central scientific agency in the bi-national safe food system. Our primary responsibility is to protect public health and safety by ensuring a safe food supply in partnership with food and health authorities in Australia and New Zealand.
We do this by developing evidence-based standards for regulators and industry, monitoring the safety of the food supply, supporting consumers to make informed choices and coordinating food incidents and recalls in Australia. We are independent, a unique trans-Tasman agency and internationally-recognised experts in our field.
FSANZ develops and administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The Code regulates the use of food ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins and minerals. It covers the composition of foods such as dairy, meat and beverages, as well as regulating food technologies like genetic modification. The Code also sets requirements for labelling for both packaged and unpackaged food, including mandatory warnings or advisory labels for things like allergens.
In Australia, FSANZ covers the whole food supply chain, from farm to fork. We develop standards for primary production and processing and for food service and retail. We also set residue limits for agricultural and veterinary products, coordinate food surveillance and food recall systems, conduct research and support the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in its duty to inspect imported foods. In New Zealand, these activities are undertaken by the Ministry for Primary Industries, public health units or local governments.
FSANZ works closely with a range of government agencies who have responsibility for delivering functions which help keep the food supply safe.
Enforcing the Food Standards Code
In Australia, state or territory government agencies and local councils are responsible for enforcing and interpreting the Code. The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is responsible for enforcing the Code at the border. In New Zealand, this is the responsibility of the Ministry for Primary Industries, public health units or local governments.
Only Australian states and territories and the Ministry for Primary Industries have enforcement powers. These jurisdictions have the power to mandate a food recall if necessary. FSANZ has no enforcement powers so cannot mandate, order or force a recall to occur. FSANZ coordinates the recall with the relevant jurisdiction and the food business.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods including medicines, complementary medicines, medical devices, blood and blood products. Visit the TGA website to determine whether a product is a food or medicine.
Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is part of the Ministry of Health and is responsible for regulating therapeutic products in New Zealand. Visit the Medsafe website for more information.
Pesticides, veterinary medicines and agricultural chemicals
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) assesses and registers agricultural and veterinary chemical products in the Australian marketplace. Products undergo a rigorous assessment before they can be supplied in the marketplace. Visit the APVMA website for more information.
All agricultural compounds imported, manufactured, sold or used in New Zealand must be authorised under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 and Regulations which is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries. Visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website for more information.
The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) provides a national notification and assessment scheme to protect the health of the public, workers and the environment from the harmful effect of industrial chemicals. It assesses all chemicals new to Australia and assesses those chemicals already used (existing chemicals) on a priority basis in response to concerns about their safety on health and environmental grounds. Visit the NICNAS website for more information.
Industrial chemicals are approved by the Environmental Protection Authority before they can be used in New Zealand. Visit the Environmental Protection Authority website for more information.
Imported food (including testing)
All imported food intended for sale in Australia must be safe and meet Australia's food standards. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry regulates food that is imported for sale to check it is safe and compliant with these standards. The department also manages quarantine controls at our borders to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country and provides import and export inspection and certification to help retain Australia's highly favourable animal, plant and human health status and wide access to overseas export markets. Visit the Department of Agriculture website for more information.
The Ministry for Primary Industries sets policies, criteria and procedures to monitor the safety of imported food into New Zealand. Visit the Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity website for more information.