AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND – Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released its annual report covering activities and achievements from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

The report showcases FSANZ’s commitment to enhancing food safety, standards, and stakeholder engagement in the region.

During the reporting period, FSANZ made significant progress in standards development, completing 20 food applications, two proposals, and a review of the kava standard.

These efforts resulted in amendments to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) and the introduction of new and strengthened standards.

Notably, 95 percent of the applications were completed ahead of statutory timeframes, demonstrating an impressive 20 percent improvement from the previous year.

Among the approved proposals were new primary production and processing standards for berries, leafy vegetables, and melons, along with innovative food safety management tools for the food services sector.

These standards align with Australia’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018–2021+. The agency also updated the Safe Food Australia Guide to facilitate the implementation of these new safety measures.

In addition to standards development, FSANZ conducted vital research, including the estimation of the annual cost of foodborne illness in Australia.

This research informed regulatory measures for horticulture and the foodservice sector. The agency also led the national survey of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in food, contributing valuable insights into antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for informed decision-making.

FSANZ’s role in coordinating food recalls and managing food-related incidents was evident, with the agency overseeing 93 recalls during the period. This proactive approach aligns with their commitment to public safety.

Collaboration and stakeholder engagement remained a priority for FSANZ. The agency established the Science and Food Safety Dialogue, fostering cooperation among food safety and risk assessment agencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Additionally, FSANZ led various international projects, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) import maximum residue limit (MRL) project.

The introduction of the Consumer Insights Tracker, a nationally representative survey of Australian and New Zealand consumers, further strengthened FSANZ’s understanding of public perceptions and preferences.

The agency also embraced digital innovation, conducting a trial of the Citizen Space digital engagement platform. This initiative aimed to enhance public and stakeholder consultation methods, reinforcing FSANZ’s commitment to transparency and inclusivity.

Moreover, FSANZ achieved impressive stakeholder satisfaction ratings and consumer confidence levels, showcasing the agency’s dedication to building trust and credibility among its stakeholders.

FSANZ’s Annual Report highlights the organization’s achievements, innovation, and commitment to ensuring food safety and quality for the communities of Australia and New Zealand.

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