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The Right to choose clean food


The Right to choose clean food Food Standards and Regulation Food is everyone s issue Consumers are increasingly concerned about: Pesticide residues Food allergies ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Right to choose clean food

The Right to choose clean food
  • Food Standards and Regulation

Food is everyones issue
  • Consumers are increasingly concerned about
  • Pesticide residues
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • New technologies GM, irradiation, nanotech
  • Additives
  • Food adulteration

Consumer assumptions
  • Governments set food regulations with regard to
    human health
  • Governments ensure compliance with regulations
  • Companies act ethically and responsibly

Food regulation in Australia - ACA
COMMONWEALTH Dept of Health and Ageing, DAFF,
STATE AND TERRITORY Health Dept, Agriculture,
Primary industry
Local Government and Area Health Services
OTHER Food industry, Consumers, Health Experts
FSANZ (Food regulator) objectives
  • Protection of public health and safety
  • Provision of adequate information so consumers
    can make informed choices
  • Prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct

Conflict of interest?
  • FSANZ also has to have regard to
  • The need for standards to be based on risk
    analysis using the best available scientific
  • The promotion of consistency between domestic and
    international food standards
  • The desirability of an efficient and
    internationally competitive food industry

Case studies
  • Adulteration oil and melamine
  • Additives
  • Food irradiation
  • Nanotechnology
  • GM food

7.30 Report into Olive Oil
  • Australian Olive Association had imported extra
    virgin olive oil tested
  • All oils failed internationally recognised
  • Too old
  • Refined not virgin
  • Some contained canola and pumace oil (waste

No way to reject Oils
  • Australia has no standards therefore no way to
    reject oil and penalise companies
  • Australia is at risk of becoming a dumping ground
  • This oil would not be tolerated if we were
    trying to export it into Italy, but at the same
    time we are taking oil from Italy or Spain which
    doesnt meet their requirements. Dr Rod Mailer,
    Australian Oils Research Lab

Melamine Choices concerns
  • Concerns about food inspections especially of
    imported seafood, fruit and vegetables
  • Reports of dirty imports
  • AQIS tests 5 of imported food
  • AQIS tests all consignments of high risk food
    (cooked meat, poultry, seafood and some dairy)
  • Need to rethink

Food Additives
  • Some are harmless and beneficial but
  • Nearly 300 approved for use in Australia
  • 25 of these banned in other countries
  • Approx 50 linked to cancer
  • 55 can trigger asthma
  • 30 associated with hyperactivity and learning
  • 80 may contribute to kidney and liver problems
  • About 30 are produced by Genetic Modification

Citizen groups on additives
  • Additive Alert Kids First campaign to get 6
    food colourings banned. These colours will be
    phased out in GB in 2009 because of health
  • Low to No Additives Guide and additive free
  • The Chemical Maze extensive guide to food
    additives and cosmetic ingredients

Food irradiation in Australia
  • 3 irradiation plants operating
  • Herbs, spices, teas, and 9 tropical fruits may be
  • Labels
  • No labels on unpackaged items sign nearby
  • No clear standard label or warning
  • Non-food unlabeled ie herbs, health
    formulations, stockfeed and pet food

  • A nanometre is one billionth of a metre
  • DNA is 2.5 nm wide
  • A human hair is 80,000 nm wide
  • A nanoparticle is a particle with one side
    measuring 100nm or less
  • Nanotechnology could be used in almost any

Current uses of nanotech
  • Sunscreen
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Anti-bacterial fridge liners, cutlery and
  • Tennis racquets

Is it safe to eat?
  • Predicted market 2.4 billion US dollars by 2010
  • Industrial revolution caused large increase in
    nanoparticles as by-product urban air pollution
  • Properties change at nano size (gold becomes
    blue) so hard to predict how particles will act
  • Some nanoparticles have similarities to asbestos
  • No real idea how or what to test for
  • Possible bioaccumulation

Areas where nanotechnology may be used
  • Food packaging
  • Food quality analysis and monitoring
  • Food processing
  • Food additives

What is our regulators approach?
  • No applications received yet for nanotech in food
  • Currently no labelling of vitamins that may have
    nanotech particles
  • No new standard - Considered under Food
    additives and processing aids
  • Not regarded as a novel food
  • FSANZ will liaise with nanotech industry

How FSANZ authorises GM food
  • No tests done by FSANZ
  • Relies on tests done by the companies wanting to
    release GM food
  • Will look at published studies but very few exist
  • Ignores the negative findings of the ones that
    have been done

FSANZ approves every GM food
  • RR canola BANNED in Austria rats liver
    increased 15 - growing in NSW and Vic
  • Bt10 corn (US) ILLEGAL in Japan and EU. Testing
    to prevent contamination.
  • MON 863 corn (US) BANNED by Austrian Government
    liver and kidney toxicity in rats
  • Bt63 rice (China) ILLEGAL EU and NZ. Testing to
    prevent contamination. No action by FSANZ
  • Alpha amylase corn designed for bioethanol.
    BANNED in S. Africa for human health concerns
  • Greenpeace Eating in the Dark

Together, the increasing exposure to GM foods and
the increasing incidence of anaphylaxis have a
close association.
Allergy tests on RR canola fatally flawed
  • Monsanto was not able to identify and
    characterize one of its intended GM proteins in
    the GM canola planted in Victoria and New South
    Wales this year.
  • Instead they supplied Food Standards with
    information about a protein that was not expected
    to be present in the crop.
  • Wrong protein tested therefore the whole approval
    should be invalid
  • Please help get the news out

Where is food regulation heading?
  • COAG identified food regulation as area to be
    targeted for ambitious reforms
  • Productivity Commission research paper pressing
    need for accelerated reforms to reduce regulatory

CHOICE Claire Hughes
  • Opposes proposals to increase power of NSW and
    Vic in Food Ministers Council
  • Wants Bettwaite report to be published
  • Against fast tracking proposals that limit
    consumer consultation
  • Our food system is actually designed to promote
    and protect the health of consumers. Its not
    just there to provide the framework for business

Food Democracy vs Food Control Food Wars by Tim
Lang and Micheal Heasman
  • Food Democracy
  • Bottom up decision making
  • Genuinely open debate
  • Exploring what people think
  • Food control
  • Top down decisions
  • Limited dialogue
  • Limited public engagement

In the UK
  • Citizens juries on GM
  • UK Office of Communications (OFCOM) commissioned
    research workshops about junk food. Participants
  • New policy framework Food Matters there should
    be a national conversation about how to go about
    transforming the food system
  • Role of government to facilitate not lead
  • Active NGOs and public vital

Get active
  • Network
  • Contact FSANZ
  • Contact Federal and State politicians
  • Food Regulation Standing Committee senior
    bureaucrats advise Food Ministerial Council on
    food policy. Do not have to make advice public
  • Food Ministerial Council labelling review
  • COAG review of food regulation
  • Join MADGE