FSANZ sticks to guns on kava

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New zealand, Food, Herb

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand is proposing to retain the
ban on adding kava to foods, but not dietary supplements regulated
under New Zealand regulations, and to keep the labelling statements
related to public health.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has published a proposal to retain the prohibition on adding kava to foods, but not dietary supplements regulated under New Zealand regulations, and to keep the labelling statements related to public health.

The agency is asking for public comment on the regulation of the herbal, which has a long history of use in South Pacific communities, as it adopts changes to the Food Standards Code.

Kava regulation in Australia allows the herb to be used for 'traditional use' in the food supply (i.e. the raw, ground or dried root) but it cannot be mixed with other foods. It has also been allowed in complementary medicines as it is not prohibited in dietary supplements in New Zealand, and products can enter Australia from there via the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement.

To allow transition of the kava standard to the new joint Food Standards Code, a new standard (Standard 2.6.3) was established adding an amendment to recognise that kava could be lawfully added to foods regulated under the New Zealand Dietary Supplement Regulations 1985 (NZDSR).

However FSANZ said it will review the safety of kava for use in food given recent reports of liver damage associated with products containing the herb and the voluntary recall of complementary medicine. It is also planning to review risk management options.

FSANZ is also proposing to prohibit the use in food of organic solvent extracts of kava and the aerial parts and root peelings of the plant.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, Suppliers

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