The Role of Food Authority in Upholding Food Safety

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

FSANZ is an Australian government agency that develops standards for food – known as the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).

Parts 1 and 2 of the Code apply in both Australia and New Zealand. These parts regulate the use of ingredients, processing aids, colourings, additives, vitamins, and minerals. They also cover the composition (make-up) of some foods and include standards for genetically modified foods.

FSANZ is also responsible for the labelling of both packaged and unpackaged food, including mandatory (legally required) warnings or advisory labels.

Parts 3 and 4 of the Code apply only in Australia. These parts regulate food safety standards, primary production and processing standards, and maximum residue limits for agricultural and veterinary chemicals. In New Zealand, these activities are undertaken by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.

The FSANZ Board decides whether or not to approve changes to the Code. These decisions are notified to Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food regulation (the Food Ministers' Meeting). The Food Ministers' Meeting can adopt, make changes to, or reject standards and can ask FSANZ to review its decisions.

Food Standards Enforcement

Food standards are enforced by Australian state and territory governments and the New Zealand Government through their food acts. The Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is responsible for enforcing food standards relating to imported food in Australia.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991

FSANZ operates under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. The objective of this Act is to ensure a high standard of public health protection throughout Australia and New Zealand, including by:

  • maintaining a high degree of consumer confidence in the quality and safety of food

  • providing information to enable consumers to make informed choices

  • promoting consistency between domestic and international food regulations.

Role of FSANZ

FSANZ is responsible for:

  • developing food standards informed by the best available scientific evidence

  • coordinating regulatory activities across the food regulation system, including coordination of food incident responses and food recalls

  • providing advice to food regulators and food standards information to consumers.

The Role of Government in Regulating Food Safety

Federal Government

In Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) develops and manages the Food Standards Code, which documents legal requirements for additives, nutrition, storage, labelling, and GM foods. State And Territory Authorities role is regulating & monitoring food safety in their State.

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory



South Australia


Western Australia


These state and territory authorities enforce and interpret the Food Standards Code, investigating:

  • Food‐borne illness

  • Foreign matter in food

  • Food composition

  • Labelling of food products

  • Misleading conduct by food businesses

  • Food safety issues in State Government food businesses

The role of Local Government in regulating food safety

Local councils enforce the legislation and policies set by:

Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) who represent local councils can enter a food business and perform a health inspection at any time to check that a business is operating within safe boundaries.
Local councils regulate:

  • Food safety in retail, hospitality, health, food processing, food transport, and food distribution

  • Food safety in community organisations and events

Examples of food businesses which local governments regulate include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, and takeaway food shops

  • Fruit and vegetable shops processing (cutting) fruit and vegetables

  • Delicatessens (in supermarkets)

  • Mobile food vehicles selling unpackaged food

  • Childcare centres, aged care facilities, and private hospitals

  • Private school canteens

  • Food manufacturers

  • Wholesale and retail distribution centres

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