The Ministerial Council on Food Regulation (FoFR) approved new a food standard covering Health Claims (Standard 1.2.7 Nutrition, Health and Related Claims) which came into full force on 16 January 2016, with the removal of the old transition standard. The new standard imposes an onerous substantiation process that goes well beyond equivalent regulation in Europe or the US, setting a high bar for companies wishing to make health claims on food packs, and a resource-intensive enforcement requirement for jurisdictions. AFGC is concerned the standard is a disproportionate regulatory approach that:
- Discourages innovation in food products at a time when domestic industry seeks to boost competitiveness to gain share in both domestic and export markets;
- Adds to regulatory costs at a time when food manufacturing companies are already struggling with rising input costs and shrinking margins;
- Poses a competitive disadvantage for domestic manufacturers competing with foreign sourced food products; and
- Discourages investment, particularly by major global food companies.
In the current highly competitive trading environment any regulation or impost that adds to costs runs a high risk of pushing production and jobs offshore.
The AFGC considers the whole standard should be reviewed to determine its success in realising its original objectives.