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FSANZ: Call For Urgent Comment

by Andrew Thomson on November 1, 2019

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for public comment on an urgent Proposal to prohibit the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine food products in Australia and New Zealand.

The proposal follows a review conducted by FSANZ in August 2019 which found the availability of pure caffeine for retail sale poses an unacceptably high risk to consumers, and should be prohibited.

FSANZ CEO Mark Booth said the urgent proposal reflects a significant amount of work, including a thorough risk assessment carried out by FSANZ over the past few months.

“Our risk assessment confirmed pure or highly purified forms of caffeine pose an unacceptably high risk to consumers. Ingestion of small amounts of these substances can result in severe health effects, including death,” Mr Booth said.

“In addition, the risk assessment has determined a maximum safe level for total caffeine in food should be set at less than 5% – unless there are existing permissions in the Code (i.e. energy drinks and cola drinks).

“Currently the Code does not expressly permit, prohibit or seek to regulate the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine food products generally,” Mr Booth said.

“We are seeking to amend this to provide increased protection to consumers following the tragic death of 21-year-old New South Wales man from acute caffeine toxicity.

“Noting the urgency of this proposal I encourage all interested stakeholders to provide comments by 6pm (Canberra time) 14 November 2019, particularly if there are any concerns regarding the unintended impacts,” Mr Booth added.

“This feedback will be used to determine next steps,” Mr Booth said.

More information on this proposal and how to make a submission are available on our website.

When preparing proposals to change the Food Standards Code, FSANZ follows legislated requirements set out in the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. All FSANZ decisions on proposals are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.