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Nutrasweet request and response



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`EDERRAL MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

AND MJ2 l ER AS8IrrNG THE THEASEJBER FOIE PRICES SENATOR NICK BOIXUS

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NUTRASWEET REQUEST AND RESPONSE

The Minister for Consumer Affairs, Senator Nick Bolkus, today said that the Nutrasweet Company had written to the Government under the regulation Request and Response procedures announced -by the Prime M3iister, Mr Hawke, last year.

Senator Bolkus said that companies began applications for extended use of a Nutrasweet product, aspartame, a low calorie, low bulk artificial sweetener, in 1986.

"The Australian Food Standards Committee has produced a draft standard for reduced joule'foods and public comment is being considered," said Senator Bolkus.

"The AFSC will recommend the revised draft standard to the Public Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research ;Council and, once it receives endorsement from that body, it will be submitted to Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers comprising the National Food Standards Council.

"If Ministers agree, the standard should proceed for gazettal in July this year."

Senator Bolkus said this would be the 12th stage through which the applications for use of aspartame had been processed.

"The aspartame applications raise serious issues about the processes by which Australian food standards are set," said Senator Bolkus.

"The Industries Assistance Commission has before it a reference on the food processing industry and will soon deliver to the Government an interim report on packaging and labelling.

"In the context of these reports I intend to pursue vigorously reform of the processes by which food standards are set."

Senator Bolkus said that the IAC would provide certain insights into the problems arising from the administrative procedures for setting Food Standards in Australia.

"However, I believe the Government should also have before it a clear reform plan addressing the complex and cumbersome procedures that presently exist," said Senator Bolkus.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, AC.T. 2600 TEL: (062) 77 7380 FAX: (082) 73 4158

Senator Bolkus said that he was keen to reduce the number of

stages through which applications are processed, the illegitimate use of the procedures for blatant industry protection and the abuse of the system to lock applications in an appeal and counter appeal cycle.

"Australian industry and consumers will benefit if we can streamline and simplify the current maze of committees and referrals," said Senator Bolkus.

Sunday, March 12, 1989 Canberra.

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