Australia New Zealand Food Authority Food Standards Australia and New Zealand agreed to a joint food standards system in December 1995. The Australia New Zealand Food Authority has been created to develop and implement uniform food standards. Under this system, any person or organisation can apply to have food standards developed or varied. The Australia New Zealand Food Authority can also propose to change or vary a standard on its own initiative. Notice about these applications and proposals are published in Australia and New Zealand. Public submissions help the authority make an informed assessment. The processes of ANZFA are described in the booklet Introducing the Australia New Zealand Food Authority. Please contact the liaison officer below for your copy. The new authority began its operations on 5 July 1996. At the time, there were a number of applications and proposals being processed in Australia. To give the New Zealand community the opportunity to have their say, the authority invites submissions on the following applications and proposals. For further information, please contact: Standards Liaison Officer Australia New Zealand Food Authority P.O. Box 7186 CANBERRA MAIL CENTRE ACT 2610 AUSTRALIA Tel: (00 61 06) 271 2219 Fax: (00 61 06) 271 2278 or Ms Elizabeth Flynn Acting Manager, New Zealand Operations Australia New Zealand Food Authority P.O. Box 10-559 The Terrace WELLINGTON 6036 Tel: (04) 473 9942 Fax: (04) 473 9855 All submissions should be forwarded by mail or facsimile to the above named by 18 September 1996. Matters at Inquiry The authority has completed assessments of the following applications and proposals, and now seeks comments on the draft variations to the Food Standards Code. Artificial Sweetening Substances in Reduced Energy Cordials, Syrups and Toppings (A251). To extend the use of six artificial sweetening substances in reduced energy cordials, syrups and toppings. The authority has decided not to approve the extension of use of two substances (cyclamate and saccharin) and to progress the application for the remaining four substances (aspartame, acesulphame K, alitame and sucralose) draft variations to Standards A8 Artificial Sweetening Substances, O1 Cordials, Syrups and Toppings. The New Zealand regulations are quite dissimilar from the Australian Food Standards Code because the two countries have taken different approaches to regulating these types of products. Acesulphame K in Electrolyte Drinks and Electrolyte Drink Bases, Reduced Energy Soft Drinks and Soft Drink Bases and Spoon for Spoon Products (A253, A255 and A256). To permit acesulphame K for use in electrolyte drinks and electrolyte drink bases (A254), soft drinks and soft drink bases (A255) and spoon for spoon products (A256) draft variations to Standard A8 Artificial Sweetening Substances. The New Zealand regulations are fundamentally quite different from the Australian Food Standards for these types of products. Dimethyldicarbonate (A259). To permit the use of dimethyldicarbonate (DMDC) as a cold sterilising agent in fruit juices and related products, soft drinks and related products, orange juice and related products, fruit drinks and fruit drink products, fruit wine, vegetable wine, mead, and wine and wine products draft variation to Standard A16 Processing Aids. The New Zealand regulations do not permit the use of this processing aid. Processed Eucheuma Seaweed (A262). To permit the use of natural grade carrageenan (also known as processed eucheuma seaweed) as an alternate form of carrageenan draft variations to Standards A1 Labelling and Advertising, A10 Modifying Agents, A11 Specifications for Identity and Purity of Food Additives, Processing Aids, Vitamins, Minerals and Other Added Nutrients. The New Zealand regulations do not permit the use of this processing aid. Malt and Malt Extract (A275). To delete or amend clauses of Standard B5 Malt and Malt Extract, to cater for the range of products with different diastatic activity currently on the market. These products would be regulated under Standard S1 Miscellaneous Foods and the clause regulating diastatic power would be retained and relocated to Standard A1 Labelling and Advertising draft variations to delete Standard B5 and amend Standards A1 Labelling and Advertising and K1 Sugar and Related Products. The variations to the Australian Food Standards Code will enhance trans-Tasman alignment of the requirements. CaNaEDTA in Canned Fish (A282). To permit the addition of up to 250 mg/kg of calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (CaNaEDTA) in canned crustacea and canned molluscs. The authority proposes to extend the use of (CaNaEDTA) to all canned fish, including canned tuna and canned salmon to further promote consistency with international food regulations draft variation to Standard D2 Canned Fish, Canned Fish Products. New Zealand permits the use of (CaNaEDTA) in canned fish, other than shrimps, prawns, or paua, up to a level of 250 mg/kg. Deletion of Standard G3 (P130). To delete Standard G3 Imitation Cream draft variation to Standard A3 Food Additives. New Zealand does not have specific regulations for imitation cream which is standardised as a ``table confection''. The deletion of Standard G3 will enhance trans-Tasman alignment of requirements. Edible Inks on Food Surfaces (A268). To allow shellac to be used as a base for permitted colourings and to permit colourings to be applied to the surface of chocolate draft variations to Standards A5 Colourings and Q3 Cocoa and Cocoa Products. The New Zealand regulations do not currently permit this use of shellac. Microcystalline cellulose (A278). To recognise microcrystalline cellulose as a vegetable gum draft variation to Standard A10 Modifying Agents. The New Zealand regulations permit microcrystalline cellulose, along with several other forms of cellulose, as stabilisers, thickeners, modified starches and gelling agents, and it is permitted as a food conditioner in a wide range of foods. This application would achieve alignment with New Zealand. Matters Before Council The authority has completed inquiries into the following applications and proposals and has recommended to the council the adoption of draft variations. The authority will now hold a further inquiry into these matters in New Zealand and will make a further recommendation to the council on the issues following this consultation. Mucorpepsin (A243). To permit the use of mucorpepsin, derived from a genetically modified organism, in the production of cheese and cheese products and thickened cream draft variations to Standards A11 Specifications for the Identity and Purity of Food Additives, H2 Cream and Cream Products, H9 Cheese and Cheese Products. The New Zealand regulations do not specifically permit the use of mucorpepsin as a coagulating agent in cheese and cheese products when derived from the particular organisms specified in the application. Polydextrose in Baked Goods (A246). To permit the addition of polydextrose as a bulking agent in biscuits, cakes, pastry and other flour products excluding bread draft variation to Standard B3 Biscuits, Cake, Pastry and Other Flour Products Excluding Bread. Polydextrose is already permitted in these products in small amounts as a humectant in the New Zealand regulations, not in greater amounts as a bulking agent. Vegetable Gums for Coating Raw Peeled Potatoes (A252). To permit the use of agar, alginic acid and alginates for coating raw peeled potatoes draft variation to Standard F1 Vegetables and Similar Foods. The New Zealand regulations do not specify that these substances can be used as a coating on raw peeled potatoes. Silicon Dioxide in Shredded or Grated Cheese (A292). To permit the use of silicon dioxide as an anti-caking agent in shredded or grated cheese at a maximum level of 20 g/kg draft variation to Standard H9 Cheese and Cheese Products. The New Zealand regulations do not specify that silicon dioxide may be used in these products. Titratable Acidity of Ultra-pasteurised Whipped Thickened Cream (A253). To redefine the maximum titratable acidity for ultra-pasteurised whipped thickened cream to 2500 mg/kg draft variation to Standard H2 Cream and Cream Products. New Zealand does not specify the maximum titratable acidity for this product. Mercury in Ling Fish (A296). To allow the mean permitted mercury levels for ling (fish) to be increased to 1.0 mg/kg draft variation to Standard A12 Metals and Contaminants in Food. The New Zealand regulations specify that the permissible proportion for mercury in fish and fish products is 0.5 mg/kg.