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Australia seeks comments on maximum residue limit changes

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has called for comment submissions on a proposal to change maximum residue limits (MRLs) for some agricultural and veterinary chemicals for Australia only.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said some of the proposed changes would align limits in the Food Standards Code with overseas limits, while others have been proposed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

“MRLs are determined based on how much of a chemical is needed to control pests and/or diseases and are set well below the level that could pose health and safety risks to consumers,” Booth said.   “FSANZ has assessed the proposal and concluded there are no public health and safety concerns relating to the changes.”

All FSANZ decisions on standards are notified to government ministers responsible for food regulation. Ministers can decide to adopt, amend, or reject standards or they can ask for a review.

The closing date to submit comments is Feb. 26.

Submissions must be in writing and should be sent electronically where at all possible. All submissions must be received by the due date.

If you have any trouble lodging your submission online or your submission contains confidential material email it to submissions@foodstandards.gov.au.

Submissions should:

  • include the number or name of the application or proposal include your name and contact details including position, address, telephone number, fax and email address;
  • for organizations, the level of which the submission was authorized;
  • comment on the issues and options;
  • provide as much supporting evidence as possible e.g. groups or individuals who may be affected, data on the effect of the proposed decision, relevant technical information;
  • be simple, clear and concise;
  • be supported by relevant, reputable and current data where possible;
  • use appropriate case examples; and
  • include a brief summary, especially if the submission is lengthy.

If possible, submissions should contain scientific evidence rather than conjecture to back up assertions. If no scientific or other validated evidence is provided, officials may not be able to give them the same weight as information supported by scientific evidence.

Some submitters raise concerns about matters that FSANZ doesn’t have responsibility for, such as enforcement, compliance or food policy. These issues should be raised with the relevant agencies. If in doubt, email standards.management@foodstandards.gov.au for clarification.

Submissions will be acknowledged within three business days.

Under the Information Publication Scheme, all submissions will be published on the FSANZ website unless appropriate reasons are provided to treat it as confidential. Submissions will be published as soon as possible after the end of the public comment period. Details such as direct phone numbers, personal email addresses or addresses of private individuals are redacted from documents before publication.

Law requires FSANZ to treat information as confidential if it identifies trade secrets relating to food and any other information relating to food, the commercial value of which would be or could reasonably be expected to be destroyed or diminished by disclosure. Confidential commercial information should be clearly identified and separated from your submission. If FSANZ does not agree that the information meets the criteria for confidential information, submitters will be given an opportunity to withdraw the submission before it is made public.

All relevant issues raised in submissions will be considered by FSANZ. Subsequent reports will address these issues.

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