Our stakeholders play an important part in informing our work and contribute to the rigour of our processes. We engage with stakeholders through a variety of channels including Codex committees and taskforces, international liaison groups, domestic committees and liaison groups from the retail, consumer, and government sectors, as well as scientific advisory groups. We monitor stakeholder satisfaction with our level of engagement through a biennial survey and stakeholder forum.
Our website provides additional information around our responsibilities, the principals around our engagement processes and activities (such as consultations on our standards development work) that we undertake to maintain connections with our stakeholders.
The FSANZ stakeholder survey collects information from stakeholder groups (industry, consumers and government) on their satisfaction with our performance. The survey has been conducted in 2014, 2017 and 2019. Results from the survey conducted between April and June 2019 are reported below.
Our inaugural Stakeholder Forum was held in Sydney in March 2019. The theme of the forum was
Fit for purpose - food regulation now and in the future. We collected feedback from forum participants immediately after the forum using a survey and these results are reported below. This survey will be repeated for subsequent fora. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and face-to-face gatherings, a date for our next Stakeholder Forum is yet to be determined.
We have also utilised data that we collect on staff participation in meetings and conferences, both domestic and international. These are proxy measures of our stakeholder engagement and are intended to be monitored over to time to indicate the range of activities that we participate or lead with different stakeholder groups.
|Deep engagement with domestic and international stakeholders |
% of respondents that indicate satisfaction with FSANZ performance*
% of respondents that indicated understanding of FSANZ's role to :
In total 632 responses were received in the 2019 survey (up from 537 in 2017). Overall satisfaction with FSANZ performance was slightly down on the previous survey results (71% satisfaction in 2017).
Compared to results from the 2017 survey
there was an overall increase (approximately 10% over most roles listed here) in stakeholders' understanding of FSANZ's roles in the food regulatory system.
There continues to be some confusion regarding parts of FSANZ's role in the broader food regulatory system. Only Australian states and territories and the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries have enforcement powers, yet 23% of respondents believe that FSANZ has responsibility for enforcing food laws. This is unchanged from the previous survey (results not shown).
Develop binational food standards
Develop industry codes of practice
Develop interpretive guides for enforcement agencies
Increase public awareness of food standards
Test for food safety and composition
Number of attendees to FSANZ biennial stakeholder forum
Total number of survey respondents
97 participants responded to the survey. Participants were asked how they would rate the event. The number of respondents who rated the event as good, very good or excellent (88 or 91%) are tallied here as positive responses.
Number (%) of survey respondents that give positive feedback
Feedback on the event indicated it was useful to stakeholders some stakeholders noting that future events should include greater representation from industry, more opportunities for audience engagement and more discussion on the future of food regulation.
Regulatory and food safety fora attended by FSANZ staff:
Total number attended
Number with invitation to speak
Total number attended
Number face to face attended
Number hosed by FSANZ (inculding 4 international delegations)
Number tele- or online meetings attended (including 11 with international groups)
Staff regularly present FSANZ work or represent FSANZ at conferences and meetings. We also host meetings and international delegations in our offices. We have quantitated these interactions as a proxy measure of FSANZ commitment to stakeholder engagement and recognition of our expertise. The aim is to track these over time. The number of tele- or online meetings may be high for this FY due to isolation policies in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
*includes domestic and international
**stakeholders include government, industry, science and academia, and public health professionals but excludes interactions considered part of FSANZ core business (e.g. processing of applications and proposals).
Case study – Codex Committees
We play an important part in supporting Australia’s broader international policy agenda in relation to food safety and food regulatory measures. The Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is the international food standards setting body established by the
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the
World Health Organization. Codex develops international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice for an international food code through Codex committees and task forces. FSANZ contributes to the work of Codex by leading the Australian delegation (on behalf of the Australian Government) to five committees. Key activities in 2019-20 is summarised below.
Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU):
FSANZ leads the Australian Delegation for this Codex Committee and is responsible for ensuring the Australian position on nutrition and foods for special dietary uses and matters is understood and that decisions of the Committee align as much as possible with Australia's domestic food policy. The Committee met in November with agenda items including the review of the Standard for Follow-up Formula for older infant and young children and developing regulatory nutrient reference values for older infants and young children. These agenda items are informative for the current review of infant formula regulations in Australia.
Codex Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TFAMR):
The TFAMR was established to develop science-based guidance to enable coherent management of antimicrobial resistance along the food chain. The task force has met for the last three years to progress two substantive items: the Code of Practice to minimise and contain antimicrobial resistance and the draft Guidelines on integrated monitoring and surveillance of foodborne antimicrobial resistance. It is expected that a final taskforce meeting will be held in 2021 to complete this work. By Chairing the Australian delegation to the taskforce, FSANZ ensures that the Australian Government's policy position around antimicrobial surveillance issues is well represented in the guidelines.
Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA)
The CCFA establishes or endorses permitted maximum or guideline levels for food additives. The committee also recommends identity and purity specifications for food additives for adoption by Codex, and considers methods of analysis for additives in food. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 meeting for this committee was postponed to 2021. Since the postponement, the Committee has remained active through its electronic working groups (EWG). As delegation lead, FSANZ chairs the EWG on alignment, to align food additive provisions in Codex standards with the General Standard on Food Additives, so it is the sole resource for food additive provisions. A large number standards were aligned for the cancelled 2020 meeting and additional work is continuing for the 2021 meeting. This work is an achievement for Australia as it is a major ongoing project for the CCFA.
Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH)
The CCFH develops general principles, codes of practice and guidelines for food hygiene as well as microbiological criteria for food. The committee met in November 2019 where the Code of Practice (COP) on Food Allergen Management for Food Business Operators was recommended for adoption by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The COP provides guidance to food business operators on allergen management during food manufacturing through to retail and food service end points. The COP also addresses good hygiene practice in manufacturing and food preparation practices in food service. This work was led by the Australian delegation which is a great achievement by Australia.
Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF)
The CCCF sets maximum levels (MLs), develops codes of practice (COP) and guidelines, and considers methods of analysis and sampling in relation to contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting for this committee was rescheduled for May 2021. The Committee has remained active in 2019-20 through several EWGs. As delegation lead, FSANZ has progressed work on MLs for cadmium in cocoa, mercury in fish, and MLs and a COP for lead in several food categories.
Overall, results show stakeholders continue to be satisfied with our engagement and the outcomes achieved from these activities. In the coming year we will explore opportunities to improve engagement with stakeholders – noting face-to-face engagements will be limited due to COVID-19 and technology will be relied upon more to facilitate this engagement work. In March 2021, we will undertake our next biennial stakeholder satisfaction survey. As part of this survey we will look to revise some key questions to better understand issues and areas for improvement and, based on results, will develop an action plan to continue to develop our performance in this critical area.