Food processing plants are set to get the green light from the Federal Government to start phasing out food products that contain plastic.
A move to phase out plastic from processed foods by 2022 has been long anticipated and was supported by the Australian Government.
In November this year, the Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, announced the Food Processing Industry Safety and Standards Act 2017 would remove the plastic from plastic packaging by 2022.
It’s a move the industry has long sought, and a process the industry believes will lead to cleaner, safer products.
The federal Government is looking at how to set up a national food certification scheme and is considering how to phase it out across all Australian food producers.
It says that it is “encouraging” the industry to get involved in the scheme, as the industry needs to ensure food products are safe.
However, the Australian Greens have voiced concern over the process of phasing this out, with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam describing the proposal as “a very expensive and inefficient way of ensuring safe food”.
“This is a very expensive, expensive process and it’s a process that could be very costly to implement,” Senator Ludlam said.
“The question is why is it going to take that long to get food certified?
Why is it taking so long?”‘
It’s not enough to change the way we do things’: Greens’ Senator Scott LamingFood processing plants will be required to apply for a new food certification from the Government.
The process involves three phases.
The first phase will involve the production of two types of food packaging: “food packaging containing no plastic” and “food packages containing at least 100 per cent recycled plastic”.
The second phase will allow the establishment of a new national food testing regime.
“In the first phase, the food industry will apply to the Federal Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQSA) for a food certification,” a Government statement says.
“Food packaging containing plastic will only be permitted if the packaging meets certain safety requirements.
Food packaging containing at most 100 per, or at least 85 per cent, recycled plastic will not be allowed.”
For example, the maximum allowable plastic content in food packaging will be 70 per cent of the plastic content of the food packaging.
“Once a food lab has identified food packaging containing recycled plastic as a food safety risk, it will be assessed by a food scientist to determine whether the food is suitable for consumption and a final food certificate will be issued to the food processing plant.”
This certificate will contain the following information: a clear statement of the product’s safety status, a statement of safety and environmental requirements and a statement that the food has been properly tested.””
In accordance with FSQSA guidelines, the final food certification will also contain a statement on the safety of the packaging.
This statement will also include a statement about the number of plastic items and how they will be recycled, whether any of the items are recycled, and if there is a plan for how they are to be recycled.
“What do you think about the Government’s plans for food certification?
What is the food safety testing regime?
The food safety certification scheme is a federal food assurance scheme.
This scheme ensures that the production and processing of food products meet minimum food safety requirements and the standards set by FSQS.
Food processing companies are required to test their food products for five common contaminants.
These contaminants are used to measure the health of food by analysing the food’s ingredients and how it is processed.
They are also used to determine how much water, fat and salt are in the food.
The FSQ will also conduct random testing of food samples at a point-of-sale and retail centre for five contaminants, including lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, lead and leaded petrol.
The government says it will work with food manufacturers to ensure the food testing process is rigorous, as this ensures the food products they sell are safe to eat.”
We recognise that there are challenges in ensuring food safety standards are met and we will work closely with the food sector to ensure our national food assurance regime is robust and effective,” the statement says