AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND – In a bid to ensure food safety and promote international trade, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has opened its annual call for public input on proposed changes to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

This process aims to align 127 chemicals in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code with global standards, enhancing the quality of food imports and bolstering consumer protection.

FSANZ seeks to harmonize food standards with those set by renowned authorities like the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and other esteemed international food standards agencies.

The goal is to establish MRLs that are not only in line with global benchmarks but also conducive to maintaining public health and safety.

The heart of this annual process lies in rigorous dietary exposure assessments. These assessments determine the safe levels of chemical residues in food products, ensuring that consumers are not exposed to harmful amounts.

The proposed amendments to MRLs are contingent on these assessments finding no compelling public health and safety concerns, reports Food Safety Magazine.

Reducing trade barriers, ensuring safety

One of the primary benefits of this endeavor is the reduction of trade barriers. When food products meet international standards, they are more readily accepted in global markets, promoting economic growth for the countries involved.

Simultaneously, these measures ensure that food safety remains a top priority.

The MRLs established in the Food Standards Code are meticulously calculated based on the amount of a chemical required to combat pests or diseases.

Crucially, they are set well below levels that could pose any threat to public health or safety, acting as a vital safeguard for consumers.

Have your say

As part of this inclusive process, FSANZ invites comments and input from interested parties. This public engagement ensures that a wide range of perspectives, including those of consumers, industry professionals, and experts, are considered in the decision-making process.

The window for providing feedback on these proposed amendments is open until 6:00 P.M. AEST on October 4, 2023. This is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to contribute to the development of standards that impact the food we consume and trade on a global scale.

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