Food Standards Australia New Zealand is a Government agency which develops and administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The Code regulates the use of ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins and minerals. The code also covers the composition of some foods e.g. dairy, meat and beverages as well as standards developed by new technologies such as genetically modified foods. We are also responsible for labelling for both packaged and unpackaged food, including specific mandatory warnings or advisory labels.
In Australia, FSANZ has broader coverage and prepares standards across the food supply chain. We develop standards for primary production and processing and for food hygiene. We also set residue limits for agricultural and veterinary products. In New Zealand, these activities are undertaken by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. FSANZ develops standards in consultation with other government agencies and stakeholders, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation sets policy guidelines for the development of food standards by FSANZ.
FSANZ also has many other functions in Australia including coordinating food surveillance and food recall systems, conducting research and supporting the Department of Agriculture in its duty to inspect imported foods.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure Australia and New Zealand have a safe food supply and well-informed consumers.
What we don't do
FSANZ does not:
- decide overarching food policy
- enforce the Code
- provide advice on food compliance issues
- regulate therapeutic goods e.g. medicines and complementary medicines
- regulate industrial chemicals
- inspect and sample imported food.
Enforcing the Food Standards Code
In Australia, state or territory government agencies and in many cases local councils are responsible for enforcing and interpreting the Code. The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for enforcing the Code at the border. In New Zealand this is the responsibility of the NZ 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 recall if necessary. FSANZ has no enforcement powers so cannot mandate, order or force a recall to occur. FSANZ co-ordinates the recall with the relevant jurisdiction and the food business.
The links below provide contact details for relevant agencies.
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 or phone 1800 020 693.
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.
Medsafe website or phone +64 4 819 6800
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.
APVMA website or phone +61 2 6210 4701
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.
Ministry for Primary Industries website or phone +64 4 894 0100
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.
NICNAS website or phone 1800 638 528
Industrial chemicals are approved by the Environmental Protection Authority before they can be used in New Zealand.
Environmental Protection Authority website or phone +64 4 916 2426
Imported food (including testing)
The Department of Agriculture manages quarantine controls at our borders to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. The department also 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.
Department of Agriculture website or phone +61 2 6272 3933
The Ministry for Primary Industries sets policies, criteria and procedures to monitor the safety of imported food into New Zealand.
Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity website or phone +64 4 894 0100