Australian food agency proposes GM cotton for food code

Related tags Food

Australian and New Zealand food agency calls on stakeholders in the
food industry to comment on a range of proposed changes to its food
code, including using GM cotton as a food and a new source for an
approved cheese processing enzyme.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), a bi-national government agency, is responsible for setting the countries food rules and launching discussions on any imminent changes.

The latest round of proposals are posted below. Any comments from industry should be submitted to FSANZ​ by 6 July 2005.

Lipase from Candida rugosaas a processing aid (Application A516 - Draft Assessment )​ UK firm Biocatalysts has applied for approval for a new source of the currently approved enzyme, lipase triacylglycerol, as a processing aid. The new source is from the yeast Candida rugosa​.

The purpose of the processing aid is to produce flavours for processed cheese. FSANZ has concluded that the enzyme produced from this new source "does not present any public health or safety concerns"​ and that the use of this enzyme is technologically justified.

Maximum Residue Limits - Australia only​ Application A550 - Sulphaquinoxaline (antibiotic) - initial/draft assessment Application A557 - Lasalocid (antibiotic) - initial/draft assessment Application A558 - MRLs (antibiotics) - initial/draft assessment

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has applied to FSANZ seeking to amend Maximum Residue Limits for a number of antibiotics in the food code.

FSANZ, after reviewing the estimated dietary exposure assessments for these applications, concludes the residues associated with the proposed MRLs are not an unacceptable risk to public health and safety."

Food derived from a glufosinate-ammonium-tolerant cotton (Application A533 - draft assessment)​ All genetically modified commodities must undergo a safety assessment before being approved for sale as a food. Bayer CropScience has applied for approval for a cotton variety containing a genetic trait that confers tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium. Cotton is generally used as a food in the form of cottonseed oil.

Following a "comprehensive safety assessment"​ of this GM cotton, FSANZ concluded that, when used as a food, it is as "safe and as nutritious as food derived from non-GM cotton."​ There are no public health and safety concerns, adds the agency.

Food safety programs for food service to vulnerable populations (Proposal P288 - draft assessment) - Australia only

Food safety programs for producers of manufactured and fermented meats (Proposal P289 - draft assessment) - Australia only

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council has identified four potentially high-risk business activities that should implement documented and audited food safety programs.

According to FSANZ, the council's decision to mandate food safety programs for potentially high-risk business activities was based on the results of a national risk validation project, and the study 'Food Safety Management Systems, Costs, Benefits and Alternatives (the Allen Report).'​The production of manufactured and fermented meats is one of the activities.

The draft standard, outlining the requirements for a documented food safety management system for producers of manufactured and fermented meats, is available on the FSANZ website​. The website also provides intending submitters with details of how to lodge their comments with FSANZ.

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