A new FSANZ website is coming! Our new site is scheduled for launch on Wednesday 6 December 2023. It will replace this website. Find out more about the new website launch.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Logo
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Logo

Meeting the challenges - Our Strategic Objectives

​​​​​(October 2019)

FSANZ will deliver the Strategy through five interdependent strategic objectives that will provide the focus for its scientific activities over the coming four years (Figure 3).

Objective 1: Outstanding regulatory scientific capability

Key outcomes of this objective

  • Highly trained scientific and technical staff who have the skills to grow and innovate, are well engaged and adaptable to move across the organisation
  • Effective use of resources through leveraging complementary expertise from academic and research sources and domestic and international partners
  • FSANZ will be seen as an attractive place to work and is highly regarded for its integrated approach to the training, development and career progression of its people
  • Our skills are aligned with broader government initiatives and ensure FSANZ continues to have the capability to develop science based regulations and procedures.


The field of regulatory science is broad, requiring knowledge of both science and regulation and requires the integration of a large variety of scientific disciplines including chemistry, toxicology, nutrition, microbiology, modelling, biotechnology, food science and technology, social science and economics. It extends beyond just developing and applying methods to assess risk to navigating the interface between science, society and the economy, requiring a working knowledge of government legislation, regulations and industry standards, among others (see Figure 4).

While regulatory scientists typically enter the workforce highly skilled in their discipline, a number of studies have identified that further training is required to fully develop the skill sets needed to meet their unique set of functions, roles and responsibilities. Efficient training and development processes, underpinned by effective learning strategies that are focused directly on critical competencies for assessing food safety and public health issues are required as a part of FSANZ's People Strategy. Other government initiatives are also considering broader workforce issues for regulatory scientists and FSANZ is a key participant in this process.

In addition, our current resource-constrained environment means that we need to be innovative and strive to do more with less. Unable to readily increase in-house capacity, we recognise the importance of leveraging capabilities from external sources whilst maintaining sight of business needs and priorities. Therefore, it is essential that FSANZ invests strategically in the development and maintenance of its people and skills, infrastructure and our key scientific partnerships and collaborations. An example of this is our long-standing FSANZ scientific fellows program.



Actions to achieve this objective:

  • Build and maintain scientific and technical expertise in our regulatory scientists through training and development processes focused directly on critical competencies (people and skills) under our People Strategy. This includes participating in broader government initiatives to assess the skills required for regulatory scientists, current workforce issues and emerging concerns
  • Active engagement with key scientific and technical experts in research organisations and academia, and building and enhancing our external programs to complement in-house capabilities.

Objective 2: Modern scientific evidence base and application of best practice tools and methods

Key outcomes of this objective:

  • FSANZ accesses and incorporates the best available scientific evidence to support regulatory decision-making
  • We apply modern risk assessment tools and methods to support risk-based approaches consistent with international best practice
  • FSANZ can better monitor, predict and target risks and scientific trends
  • Data management processes, systems, tools and capabilities ensure scientific data and information are appropriately managed and accessible across the organisation and to our external stakeholders to make well informed decisions and improve performance.
  • FSANZ is a trusted custodian of other organisations' scientific data.

FSANZ will continue to strengthen the scientific evidence base for risk assessment through a number of processes including food chemical and composition surveys, and developing tools and applying methods suitable for assessing risks associated with the food chain. Our Silo and Harvest databases represent innovative data storage and analysis tools and systems for managing our scientific evidence base, and will continue to be utilised and developed.

We will continue to support the development of new tools to undertake risk assessments of nutrients and non-nutrient chemicals in food. We will also work to improve the consistency of implementation of modern risk assessment methods established by organisations with a risk assessment mandate at national and supranational levels.

For example, for chemical risk assessment, methods include further work on dose response assessments and methods to support extrapolation of results in animals to human populations. In addition, dietary exposure assessment methods are continuing to evolve internationally in areas such as veterinary drugs, chemical mixtures and shorter than lifetime exposures. New dietary exposure assessment methodologies and revised international guidance documents will continue to be reviewed and new methods implemented by FSANZ as required. A key focus in the nutrition area will be further articulating scientific requirements to support an assessment of risks and benefits.

We recognise that basing our scientific assessments on robust scientific data and evidence is central to our credibility. FSANZ is often dependent on the willingness of third parties to voluntarily provide the relevant data and information on which our assessments are based. How well we manage, protect and use our and others' scientific data is essential for building trust with our partners, an important first step in building confidence in and facilitating ongoing data sharing arrangements.

Our Governance Framework describes how major indicators of good governance are addressed, of particular importance if FSANZ is to become a trusted custodian of other people's data. Trust and confidence in FSANZ's ability to keep their classified or sensitive information confidential is therefore critical to FSANZ's ability to perform its role.

Our Strategic Plan for Scientific Data aims to strengthen scientific data management processes, systems, tools and capabilities to ensure relevant data and information are appropriately managed and are accessible across the organisation and to our external stakeholders.

Actions to achieve this objective:

  • Strengthen the scientific evidence for risk assessments, including ongoing surveillance of the food supply
  • Apply first-class processes and systems to manage and share our scientific data holdings, including ongoing development of food composition databases, through our Strategic Plan for Scientific Data
  • Seek opportunities to harmonise internationally, and support the development of modern risk assessment tools and methodologies at the national and supranational level.

Objective 3: Work with and leverage from our domestic and international regulatory partners

Key outcomes of this objective:

  • Timely ability to monitor and respond to emerging scientific regulatory risks and issues
  • FSANZ accesses a range of views and ideas across a large group of regulators
  • Alignment of international requirements, and consistent approaches to regulatory risk assessment and messaging from government and regulatory agencies internationally
  • FSANZ are recognised experts among global food standards networks.

FSANZ plays an active role in the development of a national and international risk assessment community. We engage with domestic and international regulatory authorities and participate in international initiatives. Increasing cooperation with core agencies promotes high standards in risk assessment, supports a harmonised approach and harnesses the best expertise available to provide solutions to global challenges.

Successful collaborations with our national and international counterparts are critical for ensuring FSANZ keeps abreast of advances and emerging issues and maintains our world-class methods for undertaking scientific risk assessment, according to international best practice. This is of particular importance in our current environment which provides scarce funding to develop and implement successful regulatory science research efforts.

Our collaboration with international decision makers also supports our relevance on global platforms and increases our influence in the setting of international standards. FSANZ currently influences standards setting internationally through providing Australian leadership in a number of international fora, for example through Codex committees, ultimately helping keep Australia's trade pathways open for the food sector.

Actions to achieve this objective:

  • Work collaboratively with, and leverage from our regulatory partners, with a focus on areas of mutual benefit
  • Contribute FSANZ's expertise and leadership to regional and global food standards networks.

Objective 4: Link and partner with key contributors such as academia, research institutions and industry

Key outcomes of this objective:

  • Timely ability to monitor and respond to emerging scientific regulatory risks and issues
  • Access to a broader pool of external scientific data, intelligence and capability to enhance our science
  • Improved interactions supporting the training and career progression of FSANZ regulatory scientists
  • FSANZ has established consortia with academia and industry
  • Collaborative resolution of complex regulatory science issues drawing on the expertise and resources of academia, research organisations and industry.

FSANZ maximises our access to, and use of, external experts to provide advice on scientific issues for which we do not have the specific technical or scientific expertise in-house. These experts may be from research agencies, universities and other organisations.

Working with external experts helps to build our knowledge, improves our agility and responsiveness in an environment with shrinking resources and facilitates a greater understanding and consensus on the science underpinning our work.

At present, experts may help us by collaborating on projects, or they can be members of expert advisory groups established by FSANZ to provide advice on specific scientific issues such as allergy and food intolerance, health claims, nanotechnologies, new breeding techniques and social sciences and economics. We also have a network of FSANZ fellows to provide us with objective expert advice in a range of disciplines and to peer review our work. This program helps to develop academic links and networks, as well to identify emerging scientific risks and regulatory science issues.

Each year, we host a number of students from universities on scientific projects that help inform our work as a part of our student research program.

In addition to our usual processes, an ambitious focus of the Strategy will be to actively seek opportunities for collaboration considering model frameworks that have been employed successfully nationally and internationally. These models are aimed at fostering high quality research to solve complex regulatory problems through collaborative research partnerships involving public authorities, research centres, academia and industry. One such example that we are leading together with CSIRO and the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre is to promote the need for and work towards establishing a nationally coordinated centre for food safety research.

Other sources of information such as that provided by industry can also increase our awareness of emerging scientific risks and trends and comprise an important additional source of analytical data. In particular, these data can support our activities in nutrition science, chemical safety and microbiology.

Actions to achieve this objective:

  • Deepen our partner relationships, including those with academia, industry and research organisations to share scientific knowledge, advice and information.
  • Seek opportunities and explore model frameworks to engage academia, research organisations and industry to resolve regulatory science issues to a mutual benefit.

Objective 5 – Communicate our science clearly and simply

Key outcomes for this objective:

  • Our science communication, including risk assessment reports, meet the needs and is understood by our stakeholders
  • Increased transparency in our scientific assessments including clear communication of uncertainty

The information available to consumers on food safety and nutrition is growing rapidly. We live in a data-rich, opinion-rich environment and society and consumers today have rising expectations for information about food. Technological changes and the growth in internet use have led to a proliferation of information available to consumers, and consumers are now looking to who they can trust.

We need to ensure our science is communicated in a meaningful way and meets the increasing expectations of our stakeholders. Scientific and technical information can be complicated and confusing, and it is a constant challenge to provide information that meets the needs of both the scientific and non-scientific community and builds confidence in the safety of the food supply.

To address these changes, we will consider how we communicate our science to meet the needs of all of our stakeholders, in particular how we describe uncertainty in our risk assessments and what assumptions have been made. Another focus will be the utility and capabilities of new multimedia tools to disseminate information that is easy to understand for scientists and non-scientists alike.

Actions to achieve this objective

  • Deliver current and relevant scientific information on our website using modern tools that clearly explain our science[1] and communicates uncertainty, under our Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy.
  • Increase our engagement in educating and training our stakeholders about our science.

[1] Example available on the FSANZ website at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/Pages/default.aspx


Return to top