Peak trade association, The Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand has welcomed the New Zealand government's in-principle acceptance to establish a centre of food safety science and research in NZ following a recommendation in the Dairy Food Safety Regulatory system report released earlier this week.
The report was commissioned on the back of investigations into the Fonterra food safety scare which resulted in the widespread recall of infant baby formula that was believed to contain a contaminated whey protein capable of causing botulism.
CEO of the Produce Marketing Association, Michael Worthington said that the establishment of such a centre will set a benchmark for best practice in food safety and traceability preparedness, and that the association is already in the process of establishing such a centre.
“On behalf of our members and the fresh produce value chain, PMA A-NZ is already working to establish an Australian and New Zealand Fresh Produce Safety Centre in conjunction with The University of Sydney's Faculty of Agriculture and Environment,” said Worthington.
“By connecting with fresh produce companies and industry groups across Australia and New Zealand, and with US counterparts such as the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California (Davis) on food safety research and outreach, PMA A-NZ is playing an active role in developing a global, collaborative approach to enhance the safety of the world's fresh produce."
“Assuming that the proposed centre in New Zealand does include fresh produce we would welcome strong trans-Tasman collaboration.”