Call for submissions on proposed pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverages

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for public comment on the proposed design and implementation of a mandatory pregnancy warning label for packaged alcoholic beverages.

FSANZ CEO Mark Booth said the draft warning label reflects a significant amount of work and research carried out by FSANZ over the last year.

“The draft warning label features a pictogram and a statement to alert women to the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy as well as to raise awareness in the broader community,” Mr Booth said. 

“The design process involved a review of existing evidence on the design of warning labels, including features that attract consumer attention.

“We also undertook consumer testing of the warning statement, specifically targeting women of child-bearing age in Australia and New Zealand to provide input.”

Mr Booth said the labels are intended to become a mandatory requirement on all packaged alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.15% alcohol by volume to promote the health and safety of unborn children through pregnancy.

“I encourage all interested stakeholders to provide comments by 6pm (Canberra time) 27 October 2019,” Mr Booth said.

Call for submissions – A1171 – Endo-inulinase from GM Aspergillus Oryzae as a PA (Enzyme)

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

​​​​Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for comment on an application to permit a new processing aid in the Food Standards Code.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the enzyme – endo-inulinase – is produced by a genetically modified (GM) strain of Aspergillus oryzae. 

“The applicant is seeking permission to use the enzyme to help produce fructo-oligosaccharides (or FOS, which can be added to a range of processed foods as a sugar alternative, low calorie bulking agent, and for dietary fibre supplementation).” 

“FSANZ has undertaken a thorough safety assessment and concluded there are no public health or safety issues related to the use of this enzyme,” Mr Booth said.

The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) on 17 October 201​9.​

Call for submissions – Application A1171

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

​​​Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for comment on an application to permit a new processing aid in the Food Standards Code.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the enzyme – endo-inulinase – is produced by a genetically modified (GM) strain of Aspergillus oryzae. 

“The applicant is seeking permission to use the enzyme to help produce fructo-oligosaccharides (or FOS, which can be added to a range of processed foods as a sugar alternative, low calorie bulking agent, and for dietary fibre supplementation).” 

“FSANZ has undertaken a thorough safety assessment and concluded there are no public health or safety issues related to the use of this enzyme,” Mr Booth said.

The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) on 17 October 201​9.​

Call for comment – enzymatic production of steviol glycosides

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today called for comment on an application to permit a new enzymatic conversion method to produce steviol glycosides.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the method uses three enzymes derived from genetically modified strains of Escherichia coli K-12.

“The applicant is seeking permission to use this to method produce higher amounts of steviol glycosides – a sweetener extracted from Stevia leaves which is used as an intense sweetener.

“FSANZ has undertaken a thorough safety assessment and concluded there are no public health safety issues related to the steviol glycoside preparations,” Mr Booth said.

The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) 08 October 2019.

All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.

Australian Total Diet Study demonstrates safety of the food supply

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

​Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth says the results of the 25th Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS), released today, again demonstrate the safety of the Australian food supply.

Mr Booth said 88 foods were tested for 226 agricultural and veterinary chemicals and four metals: arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

“The levels of agricultural and veterinary chemicals were generally very low, with a majority of samples having no detectable residues,” Mr Booth said.

“Estimated dietary exposures for all but one chemical were below the relevant acceptable daily intakes (ADIs), indicating no public health and safety concerns,” Mr Booth said.

“Estimated dietary exposure to the insecticide prothiofos exceeded the ADI for some population age groups. FSANZ informed the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) which subsequently worked with industry who voluntarily changed the way prothiofos is used to ensure that risks for Australian consumers are acceptably low.

“For metal contaminants, all detections were below the maximum levels set in the Food Standards Code and consistent with international levels.

“Estimated dietary exposure to methylmercury (through the consumption of fish) exceeded the provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) for children aged 2 to 5 years. The risks in this case are balanced by the known benefits of fish consumption. FSANZ has published consumer advice to manage dietary exposure to mercury while highlighting the health benefits.”

Call for submissions on a GM processing aid application

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today called for submissions on an application to approve an enzyme from a genetically modified microorganism, for use as a processing aid.  

Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Scott Crerar said the new source for the enzyme (pullulanase) was a genetically modified (GM) strain of Bacillus licheniformis.

“The enzyme will be used to assist in brewing and the production of syrups by breaking down carbohydrates into simpler sugars,” Dr Crerar said.

“The FSANZ safety assessment concluded there were no public health and safety concerns associated with the use of the enzyme,” Dr Crerar said.

“Pullulanase is already a permitted enzyme, and B. licheniformis has a history of safe use in the production of enzyme processing aids. This application would provide food processors with an alternative source of pullulanase.”

“FSANZ welcomes comments from government agencies, public health professionals, industry and the community on this application.”

The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) 18 July 2019.

All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.

Call for submissions: Clarifying herbs and spices irradiation permission

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

​Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) called for submissions today on an application to clarify the meaning of the terms herbs and spices in the food irradiation standard of the Food Standards Code.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Scott Crerar said the applicant―Sapro―requested the change to ensure uniform interpretation and enforcement of irradiated herbs and spices.

“The applicant is seeking to replace the current definition of herbs and spices to either a commonly understood meaning of herbs and spices or by including generic definitions of ‘herbs’ and ‘spices’ in the Code,” Dr Crerar said.

“These changes would be consistent with the original intent of the permission to irradiate herbs and spices, provided in 2001.”

There are no public health or safety concerns associated with the proposed change. Irradiation continues to provide suppliers of herbs and spices with safe alternatives to chemical treatments, providing benefits to consumers.

All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can decide to ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.

The closing date for submissions is 18 July 2019

Call for submissions on new enzyme processing aid

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today called for submissions on an application seeking to permit a new processing aid.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the enzyme alpha-glucosidase is derived from a genetically modified strain of the fungus Trichoderma reesei.

“The applicant is seeking permission to use the enzyme to produce biochemicals, such as monosodium glutamate, organic acids, potable alcohol, isomalto-oligosaccharides and other sweeteners and lysine,” Mr Booth said.

“FSANZ has undertaken a thorough safety assessment and concluded there are no public health safety issues related to the use of the enzyme.”

The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) 30 July 2019.

All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.

Call for submissions oligosaccharides in foods for infants and young children

Source: Australia and New Zealand Food Standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released a second call for submissions on an application to allow two new substances in infant formula products and formulated supplementary foods for young children (FSFYC).

The application is seeking to permit the addition of two oligosaccharides (2′-O-fucosyllactose and Lacto-N-neotetraose) that are identical to those naturally present in human milk.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the oligosaccharides are produced by microbial fermentation using genetically modified production strains.

“FSANZ’s safety and technical assessment found no public health and safety concerns associated with the addition of these oligosaccharides at the proposed maximum levels, which are within the range of levels found in human milk.

“We have considered comments received on the first call for submissions (November 2018) and after further targeted consultation have prepared a draft variation to permit the voluntary addition of these oligosaccharides to infant formula products and FSFYC.

“Interested parties are invited to have their say on the draft variation by 6pm Canberra Time 2 September 2019.

FSANZ will consider all submissions before a final decision is made. All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.