Heart and diabetes Australian health system

Review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (the Act) submission on the impact analysis

The George Institute is pleased to provide a submission to the review of the FSANZ Act. 

The current food regulatory system in Australia and New Zealand excels at food safety but falls short on public health. A review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act is underway to address this.

Key issues:

  • Growing rates of diet-related chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and obesity.
  • Food regulations don't adequately consider the long-term health impact of what's on our plates.
  • Public health and consumer voices haven't been well-represented in the proposals put forward for legislative change.

Proposed changes:

  • Include a "Public Health Test" in the Act to ensure food regulations prioritize public health.
  • Increase transparency and stakeholder engagement in the regulatory process.
  • Address the specific needs of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Māori communities.

The outcome of this review will significantly impact the health of Australians and New Zealanders. A strong public health focus is needed alongside measures to streamline the regulatory system.

The George Institute makes the following recommendations: 

Strengthening Public Health:

  • Define "public health" in the Act to consider diet-related risks.
  • Introduce a "Public Health Test" to guide decisions and prioritize public health.

Improving Efficiency:

  • Set time limits for reviewing food standards (3 years).
  • Set time limits for processing proposals (3 years).
  • Ensure Ministerial guidelines have priority.
  • Remove the expedited application process.

Funding and Representation:

  • Implement an industry levy to properly fund FSANZ.
  • Include Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Māori voices in consultations.

Transparency and Methodology:

  • Develop and consult on a risk-based framework separately.
  • Re-do the cost-benefit analysis to properly consider public health impacts.

To read our full submission, please click here.