Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to provide for the accurate labelling of the country of origin for fish, and for related purposes
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Registered 27 Mar 2015
Introduced Senate 26 Mar 2015

 

 

 

2013-2014-2015

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

FOOD STANDARDS AMENDMENT (FISH LABELLING) BILL 2015

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senators Xenophon, Lazarus, Lambie, Whish-Wilson, Wang and Madigan)

 

 


 

FOOD STANDARDS AMENDMENT (FISH LABELLING) BILL 2015

 

 

OUTLINE

This Bill seeks to implement recommendations from the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee inquiry into the current requirements for labelling of seafood and seafood products, which reported on 18 December 2014.

Specifically, the Committee recommended that the exemption regarding country of origin labelling under Standard 1.2.11 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for cooked or pre-prepared fish sold by the food services sector be removed, subject to a transition period of no more than 12 months. This measure is consistent with those put in place by the Northern Territory Government to support the local seafood industry and promote Australian produce.

This Bill requires that Food Standards Australia New Zealand develop, within 12 months, a new standard to apply in Australia only that requires fish sold for immediate consumption to be labelled according to existing country of origin requirements. For the purpose of this Bill, the term ‘fish’ is taken to have the meaning set out in the Food Standards Code, which means ‘any of the cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates and aquatic invertebrates including shellfish, but does not include amphibians and reptiles’[1]. For example, a restaurant or pub selling a meal that includes fish would be required to list on the menu whether the fish is ‘Product of Australia’ or has a different or mixed country of origin, consistent with the country of origin definitions and requirements for fish already set out in Standard 1.2.11.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Part 1 – Preliminary

 

Clause 1 – Short Title

This clause is a formal provision and specifies that the Bill, once enacted, may be cited as the Food Standards Amendment (Fish Labelling) Act 2015.

 

Clause 2 – Commencement

This clause provides for the commencement of the Bill on the day the Bill receives Royal Assent.

 

 

Clause 3 – Schedules

This clause states that each Act specified within a Schedule to this Bill is amended or repealed as set out by the provisions of the Bill.

 

Clause 4 – Purpose of the Act

This clause states that the purpose of this Bill is to ensure consumers have access to clear and accurate information about the country of origin of fish offered for immediate consumption.

 

 

Schedule 1 – Amendment to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991

 

Item 1 inserts a new definition of food services sector into subsection 4(1) of the Act. This definition outlines that the venues that will be covered by the new labelling standard includes restaurants, bars, takeaway shops, and other venues that may be specified by the Authority in the new standard.

 

Item 2 inserts a new subsection (5) at the end of section 4 to allow the new labelling standard to specify an entity or institution to which the standard will apply, for the purposes of  the definition of ‘food services sector’.

 

Item 3 inserts a new section 16A into the Act, relating to the development and application of a new Standard for country of origin labelling for fish offered for immediate consumption in Australia.

 

Subsection 16A(1) requires the Authority to develop and approve labelling standards within 12 months of the commencement of this section. These standards must prescribe how the food services sector must identify the country of origin of fish offered for immediate consumption in Australia.

 

Subsection 16A(2) provides for certain matters that must be included in the Standard as a minimum.

 

Paragraph 16A(2)(a) requires that the standard must use the definition of ‘fish’ that is included in existing Standard 2.2.3. The current definition in this standard is “any of the cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates and aquatic invertebrates including shellfish, but does not include amphibians and reptiles”.[2] This is to ensure consistency of application throughout the Standards.

 

Paragraph 16A(2)(b) requires the standard to include requirements on how country of origin labelling is to be displayed, including on menus and signage. These requirements are intended to include specifications relating to location, font size and other matters the Authority considers relevant.

 

Paragraph 16A(2)(c) requires the standard to be consistent with the existing country of origin labelling requirements outlined in Standard 1.2.11, which deals with country of origin labelling for Australia.

 

Subsection 16A(3) exempts the Authority from certain provisions of the Act in developing the new standard for the first time. This will allow the Authority to expedite the development of the standard and to ensure it is in place within the required 12 month timeframe.

 

Paragraph 16A(3)(a) exempts the Authority from following the provisions set out in section 18 of the Act, which outline the objectives of the Authority in developing or reviewing food regulatory measures.

 

Paragraph 16A(3)(b) exempts the Authority from the provisions set out in Part 3 of the Act, which relate to food regulatory measures, and outline the requirements the Authority must meet in considering an application for a new standard or the variation of an existing standard.

 

Subsection 16A(4) states that the above exemptions do not prevent the Authority from undertaking certain actions.

 

Paragraph 16A(4)(a) states that the exemptions do not prevent the Authority from developing and approving a new standard under 16A(1) to replace an existing standard, and therefore revoking the existing standard.

 

Paragraph 16A(4)(b) states that the exemptions do not prevent the Authority from developing and approving a variation of the standard developed under 16A(1), including a new standard that has replaced an existing standard under 16A(4)(a).

 

Subsection 16A(5) provides that, despite subsection (3), Part 3 of the Act applies to standards developed and approved in accordance with paragraphs 16A(4)(a) (paragraph 16A(5)(a)) and 16A(4)(b) (paragraph 16A(5)(b)); that is, that Part 3 will apply to any subsequent standards after the first standard is developed.

 

Subsection 16A(6) provides that a standard developed under 16A must be in force at all times after the first such standard comes into force.

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

FOOD STANDARDS AMENDMENT (FISH LABELLING) BILL 2015

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

 

Overview of the Bill

This Bill amends the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 to ensure consumers have access to clear and accurate information about the country of origin of fish offered for immediate consumption.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

(Senators Xenophon, Lazarus, Lambie, Whish-Wilson, Wang and Madigan)



[1] Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 2.2.3 - Fish and Fish Products, available online: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2011C00569.

[2] Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 2.2.3 - Fish and Fish Products, available online: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2011C00569.