The Obesity Policy Coalition and 23 other public health and consumer organisations have signed a letter to Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Chair of the Food Ministers Meeting and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Minister for Sport, to raise their joint concerns about the process and substance of the current food regulatory reforms, in particular the review of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act) (the Letter).
The Letter follows an Open Statement from June 2021 where public health and consumer organisations stated that proposed reforms to the FSANZ Act prioritise the profits of the food industry at the expense of the health of Australians and New Zealanders.
Despite this overwhelming lack of support from public health and consumer organisations, the reforms have been further progressed without transparency on whether public health and consumer concerns have been addressed.
One in six deaths in Australia and New Zealand are caused by diet related disease, and the FSANZ Act has an important role to play in improving the food system and saving lives.
The Letter sets out the minimum requirements to ensure that public health and safety have primacy in the FSANZ Act and asks for information and transparency on the progress of the reform.
Food Ministers have an important opportunity to reform the food regulatory system to ensure it can effectively protect and promote the health and wellbeing of all Australians and New Zealanders into the future.
Time should be taken to ensure these reforms prioritise health and not profits.