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Imported Food Control Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2017

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2016 - 2017

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

IMPORTED FOOD CONTROL AMENDMENT (COUNTRY OF ORIGIN) BILL 2017

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

(Circulated by authority of the Deputy Prime Minister and

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources,

the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP)

 



IMPORTED FOOD CONTROL AMENDMENT (COUNTRY OF ORIGIN) BILL 2017

GENERAL OUTLINE

The Imported Food Control Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2017 (the Bill) amends the Imported Food Control Act 1992 (the Act) to incorporate the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 (the CoOL Information Standard) by reference.

Following agreement by the Australian Consumer Affairs Ministers, the Australian Government introduced reforms to country of origin labelling requirements. The reforms ensure that country of origin labelling information is provided to consumers through a single consumer-focused regulatory regime.

As part of the reforms, on 1 July 2016, the CoOL Information Standard commenced under section 134 of the Australian Consumer Law.

The CoOL Information Standard provides for mandatory country of origin labelling requirements for food for human consumption that is sold (including offered or displayed for sale) in Australia. It does not impose labelling requirements on food sold outside Australia.

The reforms contemplated a two-year transition period for compliance before the requirements under the CoOL Information Standard would become mandatory. During this two-year transition period, the requirements under either the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code or the CoOL Information Standard could be met.

On 1 July 2018, the Food Standards (Proposal P1041 - Removal of Country of Origin Labelling Requirements) Variation will repeal the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.2.11 - Information requirements - country of origin labelling (Standard 1.2.11). Standard 1.2.11 is a legislative instrument made under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (the FSANZ Act) for the purposes of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

With the repeal of Standard 1.2.11, the CoOL Information Standard will replace the requirements for country of origin labelling in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

At present, the Act defines national standard to mean, in relation to a particular food or a particular matter affecting food, a standard relating to that food or matter that is included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (see subsection 3(1) of the Act). Accordingly, once Standard 1.2.11 is repealed, country of origin labelling requirements will be removed from the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, and will thus cease to be enforceable under the Act, and any legislative instruments made under the Act.

The Bill ensures that the requirements for country of origin labelling for food continue to be applied under the Act, which in turn ensures authorised officers can continue to enforce country of origin labelling requirements for imported food at the border.



Through a World Trade Organization notification and associated addenda, Australia’s trading partners were notified of the country of origin labelling reforms, and advised that Australia will continue to use a risk-based compliance and enforcement scheme for imported food at the border (including the implementation of country of origin requirements under the CoOL Information Standard).

The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science were consulted during the development of the Bill.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

The Bill will have no financial impact on the Australian Government Budget.

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

The 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 .

The full statement of compatibility with human rights is attached to this explanatory memorandum.

 



ACRONYMS, ABBREVIATIONS and commonly used terms

Act

Imported Food Control Act 1992

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code defined by subsection 4(1) of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991

Australian Consumer Law

Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010

CC Act

Competition and Consumer Act 2010

CoOL Information Standard

Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016

Food Standards Variation (P1041)

Food Standards (Proposal P1041 - Removal of Country of Origin Labelling Requirements) Variation

FSANZ Act

Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991

Legislation Act

Legislation Act 2003

Standard 1.2.11

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.2.11 - Information requirements - country of origin labelling

 



NOTES ON CLAUSES

Preliminary

Clause 1—Short Title

Clause 1 of the Bill provides for the short title of the Act to be the Imported Food Control Amendment (Country of Origin) Act 2017.

Clause 2—Commencement

Clause 2 of the Bill provides for the commencement of each provision in the Bill, as set out in the table.

Subclause 2(1) of the Bill provides that each provision of the Bill specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

Item 1 in the table provides that the whole of the Bill will commence on 1 July 2018. On 1 July 2018, the Food Standards Variation (P1041) will repeal Standard 1.2.11, which is a legislative instrument made under the FSANZ Act for the purposes of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Following the repeal of Standard 1.2.11, the CoOL Information Standard will replace the requirements for country of origin labelling in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Accordingly, deferring commencement of the Bill until 1 July 2018 ensures that amendments proposed by the Bill align with that change.

Subclause 2(2) of the Bill provides that any information in column 3 of the table is not part of the Bill. Information may be inserted in column 3 of the table, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of the Bill.

Clause 3—Schedules

Clause 3 of the Bill provides that legislation that is specified in a Schedule to the Bill is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to the Bill has effect according to its terms.



 

Schedule 1--Amendments

Imported Food Control Act 1992

Item 1                  Section 3 (definition of national standard)

Item 1 repeals the current definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act, and substitutes a new definition of national standard in that subsection of the Act, including a note to that new definition.

Subsection 3(1) of the Act currently defines national standard , in relation to a particular food or a particular matter affecting food, to mean a standard relating to that food or matter that is included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Subsection 3(1) of the Act provides that a reference to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code has the same meaning as in the FSANZ Act.

Subsection 4(1) of the FSANZ Act defines Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to mean the code published under the name ‘Food Standards Code’ in the Gazette on 27 August 1987, together with any amendment of the standards in that code:

(a)       approved by a former Council before the FSANZ Act commenced, and published in the Gazette as forming part of that code; or

(b)      made under the FSANZ Act.

The terms former Council and standard are also defined by subsection 4(1) of the FSANZ Act. Subsection 4(3) of the FSANZ Act relevantly provides that a reference to the ‘amendment of the standards in that code’ in the definition of Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code in subsection 4(1) of that Act includes, and is taken to always have included, a reference to an amendment by way of the insertion, revocation or substitution of a standard in that code.

The new definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act provides that that term means:

(a)       a standard that is included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code; or

(b)      the CoOL Information Standard, as in force from time to time.

Item 1 also inserts a note to the new definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act. This note is included to assist the reader, and states that the CoOL Information Standard is an information standard made under section 134 of the Australian Consumer Law.

On 1 July 2018, the Food Standards Variation (P1041) will repeal Standard 1.2.11, which is a legislative instrument made under the FSANZ Act for the purposes of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Following the repeal of Standard 1.2.11, the CoOL Information Standard will replace the requirements for country of origin labelling in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The CoOL Information Standard provides for mandatory country of origin labelling requirements for food that is sold (including offered or displayed for sale) in Australia. It does not impose labelling requirements on food sold outside Australia

The CoOL Information Standard, made under section 134 of the Australian Consumer Law, is a legislative instrument; however, it is not subject to disallowance under section 42 of the Legislation Act or sunsetting under Part 4 of the Legislation Act. This is due to the fact that the CC Act, which is the enabling legislation for the CoOL Information Standard, facilitates the establishment or operation of an intergovernmental scheme involving the Commonwealth and one or more states, and authorises that instrument to be made for the purposes of that scheme. Subsections 44(1) and 54(1) of the Legislation Act respectively provide that such an instrument is exempt from section 42 (disallowance) and Part 4 (sunsetting) of the Legislation Act.

Accordingly, paragraph (b) of the new definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act seeks to incorporate a non-disallowable legislative instrument by reference. Further, that paragraph incorporates the CoOL Information Standard as in force from time to time.

It is important to note that, although the CoOL Information Standard is not subject to disallowance under the Legislation Act, it is an instrument that is publicly, readily and freely available on the Federal Register of Legislation. The Federal Register of Legislation will also be updated to reflect the CoOL Information Standard as in force from time to time.

On 1 July 2018, the Food Standards Variation (P1041) will repeal Standard 1.2.11, which is a legislative instrument made under the FSANZ Act for the purposes of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. As a result, the country of origin labelling requirements in the CoOL Information Standard will replace the country of origin labelling requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Accordingly, it is necessary to insert a new definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act to ensure that the requirements for country of origin labelling for food continue to be applied under the Act.

Incorporating the CoOL Information Standard as in force from time to time ensures that imported food can be inspected for compliance with that Standard as it exists at the time the food is imported. This avoids misunderstandings about applicable country of origin labelling requirements, and ensures compliance is assessed with reference to contemporary requirements.

Persons interested in, or likely to be affected by, any changes to the CoOL Information Standard will be notified by updates to the guidance material published on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website. This mechanism will ensure that any persons interested in, or likely to be affected by, any changes to the CoOL Information Standard will know their legal obligations and rights.

For completeness, it is no longer necessary to retain the reference to “in relation to a particular food or a particular matter affecting food” in the current definition of national standard in subsection 3(1) of the Act because this is already reflected in the definition of applicable standard in that subsection of the Act. Subsection 3(1) of the Act defines applicable standard , in relation to particular food, or a particular matter affecting food, at a particular time, means the national standard in force in relation to that food or matter at that time.

 



Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

Imported Food Control Amendment (Country of Origin) Bill 2017

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.

Overview of the Bill

The Bill amends the Act to incorporate the CoOL Information Standard by reference.

On 1 July 2018, the Food Standards Variation (P1041) will repeal Standard 1.2.11, which is a legislative instrument made under the FSANZ Act for the purposes of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Following the repeal of Standard 1.2.11, the CoOL Information Standard will replace the requirements for country of origin labelling in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The CoOL Information Standard provides for mandatory country of origin labelling requirements for food that is sold (including offered or displayed for sale) in Australia. It does not impose labelling requirements on food sold outside Australia

Incorporating the CoOL Information Standard by reference is necessary to ensure that country of origin labelling requirements for food will continue to be applied under the Act.

Human rights implications

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable human rights or freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act.

Conclusion

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

(Circulated by authority of the Deputy Prime Minister

and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources,

the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP)