Celebrating Years of Ensuring Safer Food

02 Aug 2011 --- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) celebrated 20 years of ensuring safer food for Australia and New Zealand at a special event at Old Parliament House Canberra.

Aug 2 2011 --- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) celebrated 20 years of ensuring safer food for Australia and New Zealand at a special event at Old Parliament House Canberra. Opening Watching over our food past, present, future, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King, congratulated FSANZ on its achievements over two decades.

“Australia and New Zealand have a well-deserved reputation for safe and high quality food supplies,” Ms King said.“Food is vital to the economies of both countries, generating about $24 billion in export earnings for Australia and representing half of all New Zealand's merchandise exports by value.”

FSANZ was established as the National Food Authority on 19 August 1991 following a number of overseas food scares, including BSE and Mad Cow Disease. At that time, food standards were inconsistent and varied from state to state. A single food regulator ensured standards were national and uniform.

“Fifteen years ago, in 1996, we signed a treaty with New Zealand and the Australia New Zealand Food Authority was formed to develop food standards for both countries, becoming the first bi-national government agency,” Ms King said. “I join with my colleague the New Zealand Minister for Food Safety, Kate Wilkinson, in also recognising 15 years of this important treaty that benefits both our countries and our trade.”

Ms King said major achievements during the 20 years in food regulation included uniform national food standards, the benefits of a single market with New Zealand, the development of primary production and processing standards in Australia and the addressing of major public health issues such as the fortification of bread with folic acid and iodine.

“In addition, FSANZ also coordinates work on international food emergencies and food recalls.“There is plenty to do in the future too, including finalising the whole-of-government response to the Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy which is due to be considered in December this year.

“I congratulate FSANZ staff on their achievements along with all the people that contribute to the food regulatory system including consumer groups, public health organisations, the food industry and retailers, enforcement agencies and the scientific community.”

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