Changing the food system

FINletterhead

Several high-level reviews have been underway for the past year into improving the food regulation system and all other aspects of the food system that fails so many consumers.

The Food Intolerance Network has made two detailed submissions (see links below). Thanks to Network members who helped develop these.

The bottom line

As consumers and customers, we want a trusted approach to food policy and regulation that recognises the breadth of food integrity issues (safety in its broadest sense, food security, food sustainability, personal and community health and nutrition, competent enforcement of standards, etc). This new approach must provide a central core to manage our food affairs, rather than the present Byzantine and fragmented system. We have suggested a potential solution is to embrace the broader social responsibilities for public health and wellbeing, food security, sustainability and trade within a new structure of a National Food Authority / Australian Food Council, with legislative changes that support the public interest.

Why do we need change?

From our point of view the primary challenge is one of trust and confidence in government policies and processes and in industry action. This trust has been eroded by current practices. Many consumers conclude, with good evidence, that the present food system is dishonest and does not serve the public interest.

There is profound market failure in that food sellers often seek to pass off as wholesome and fresh food which is inferior, cheap and not fresh. Consumers are easily misled as a result of disinformation and so are reliant on an even-handed and independent authority with the power to make, monitor and enforce regulations, but flaws in the current food system make it widely mistrusted. With increasingly sophisticated forms of adulteration, with a globalised food supply run by multinational corporations, and with significant changes in consumer food preferences, patterns and expectations, the need has never been greater to have sound, secure and science-based technical regulation that commands the trust of all stakeholders.

Multiple scientific surveys show that regulators and industry do NOT enjoy a high degree of consumer confidence, with levels of mistrust around 75%. To an increasing extent the ability of consumers to make informed decisions has been eroded by food lawyers who game the current food regulatory system for the global food industry. Therefore a new approach is needed.

See submissions

https://www.fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/fsanz-act-review-2020

https://www.fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/aspirations-for-the-food-regulatory-system