Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released details of changes it is considering to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - food regulations designed to protect consumers and ensure that manufacturers provide adequate information to the buying public.

The changes include an exemption of an allergen warning for isinglass in beer and wine, a review of the novel food standard, the use of medium chain triglycerides in infant formula, two new processing aids, and amendments to some maximum residue limits.

FSANZ said it analyses each submission - including any scientific information that may be supplied - and responds to issues raised by submitters in its final report on a food standard matter.

Among the proposed changes is an application by DSM Nutritional Products Australia for permission to use medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) as processing aids in the preparation of infant formula products. FSANZ will assess the applicant's claim that there are no public health or safety issues associated with this application.

Danisco Australia has applied for approval to use the enzyme lipase triacylglycerol, produced using recombinant DNA techniques from the host yeast Hansenula polymorpha, as a processing aid. The enzyme is used in bread making to improve dough stability and dough handling properties. Processing aids must undergo a pre-market safety assessment before approval for use in Australia and New Zealand.

As requested by the Food Regulation Ministerial Council, FSANZ said is undertaking a review of the way novel foods are regulated. Novel foods are non-traditional foods that have features or characteristics which raise possible safety concerns, while non-traditional foods are foods that do not have a history of significant human consumption in the broad community in Australia or New Zealand. They are required to undergo a pre-market risk assessment to ensure their safety. 

FSANZ is recommending that the present food standard on novel foods should be retained, albeit with amendments to the definitions of "non-traditional" and "novel" foods.

"We are also recommending that the process for determining novelty should continue.   However, we will adopt guidelines for novel foods that should provide greater clarity and transparency for stakeholders on how novelty is assessed," FSANZ said.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has also applied to FSANZ seeking to amend maximum residue limits (MRLs) for a number of chemicals in the Code.

"FSANZ has reviewed the estimated dietary exposure assessments for these applications. These assessments indicate that the residues associated with the proposed MRLs do not represent an unacceptable risk to public health and safety," the agency said.