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Application and proposal process

The Food Standards Code is amended via two legislative pathways, applications or proposals. The process FSANZ follows to make changes to the Food Standards Code is outlin​ed in the FSANZ Act 1991. The details below provides a summary and outlines the key stages for the application and proposal process. ​

Application process​​

Anyone can make an application to amend the Food Standards Code. Once a decision is made whether to accept an application and assessment commences, assessment takes 9 or 12 months. The whole process from acceptance takes 12-15 months. All applications must meet the requirements of the FSANZ Act, including the Application Handbook

1. Administrative​ assessment​ 15 days

​FSA​​NZ has 15 business days upon receiving an application to assess whether to accept or reject an application based on criteria in the Act, including the Application Handbook requirements. Public notification is provided for accepted applications. At any stage from lodging an application through to approval an applicant can choose to withdraw their application.​

It is optional to request pre-application assistance and provide a draft application for initial feedback before lodging an application.  ​

2. Assessment​

​Once accepted, FSANZ will commence assessment on receipt of fees where these are payable or when resources are available for an unpaid application. FSANZ uses a risk analysis framework based on an internationally accepted process to assess an application. Ocassionally additional information may be required to progress the assessment, during this time assessment stops until the information has been provided by the applicant.

3. Consultation 6 weeks

​Under the FSANZ Act, FSANZ consults publicly on applications and welcomes submissions from stakeholders. The scope of consultation varies depending on the extent of changes being proposed and the effects of those changes on different sectors of the community. For a major procedure there are two rounds of consultation.FSANZ can also choose to issue further consultation papers, in addition to the main consultations. Generally, the consultation period is for 6 weeks, this can vary depending on the nature of the application and food regulatory measure being consulted on. ​

4. Approval​ 9 or 12 months from assessment start

​The FSANZ Board consider all relevant information in making a decision or wheth​er to approve, amend or reject the change to the Code. In making a decision FSANZ must give regard to the decision making crtieria set out in the FSANZ Act and to submissions received. If approved, it is publicly notified, including to Food Ministers, within 10 business days of the decision.

If the proposed change to the Code is rejected, the process ends. The decision to reject is publicly notified. Applicants can request a review of this decision.

5. Food Ministers' Meeting​ 60 days

​The Food Ministers' Meeting is made up of Food Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories and New Zealand. Once Food Ministers have been notified of the proposed amendment they have 60 days to consider whether to accept, amend or seek a review of the change.

6. Gazettal​ 2 weeks

​If no review is requested by Food Ministers, the changes to the Code are g​iven effect through gazettal. Some changes take effect on gazettal, others may have a transition period or delayed commencement. Generally, gazettal occurs within 2 weeks of the Food Ministers' decision. Within 28 days after gazettal, FSANZ prepares an update to the Code which includes the food regulatory changes. ​

Proposal process​​

Proposals are prepared by FSANZ to consider changes to the Food Standards Code. Once a decision is made whether to prepare a proposal and assessment commences, there is not a legislated timeframe to complete the assessment, it can be anything from a year up to 5 years. There is an exception for urgent proposals which are subject to statutory timeframes. All proposals must meet the relevant requirements of the FSANZ Act.​

1. Consideration for preparation of a proposal

​​A proposal to amend the Code can be initiated internally by FSANZ. The Food Ministers may also ask FSANZ to consider amending the Code which may ultimately result in a decision to prepare a proposal.

2. Administrative assessment

The administrative assessment for a proposal is prepared for the purpose of making a decision on preparing a proposal. This is based on criteria in the Act. Public notification is provided when a decision is made to prepare a proposal.

3. Assessment​

​Once a proposal has been prepared, FSANZ will commence assessment. FSANZ uses a risk analysis framework based on an internationally accepted process to assess proposal. ​

4. Consultation 6 weeks

​Under the FSANZ Act, FSANZ consults publicly on proposals and welcomes submissions from stakeholders. The scope of consultation varies depending on the extent of changes being proposed and the effects of those changes on different sectors of the community. For a major procedure there are two rounds of consultation. FSANZ can also choose to provide further opportunities for consultations. Given there are not statutory timefframes to complete assessment the consultation period can vary from the general 6 week period depending on the nature of the proposal and food regulatory measure being consulted on. 

5. Approval​

The FSANZ Board consider all relevant information in making a decision or wheth​er to approve, amend or reject the change to the Code. In making a decision FSANZ must give regard to the decision making crtieria set in the FSANZ Act and submissions received. If approved, it is publically notified, including to Food Ministers. within 10 business days of the decision.

If the proposed change to the Code is rejected the process ends. Applicants can request a review of this decision. The decision to reject is publically notified.

6. Food Ministers' Meeting​ 60 days for decision

The Food Ministers' Meeting is made up of Food Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories and New Zealand. Once Food Ministers have been notified of the proposed amendment they have 60 days to consider whether to accept, amend or seek a review of the change.

7. Gazettal​ 2 weeks

If no review is requested by Food Ministers, the changes to the Code are given effect through gazettal. Some changes take effect on gazettal, others may have a transition period or delayed commencement. Generally, gazettal occurs within 2 weeks of the Food Ministers' decision. Within 28 days after gazettal, FSANZ prepares an update to the Code which includes the food regulatory changes. ​

Page last updated 12 February 2024