A peer reviewed report on the first stage of a government inquiry into the Fonterra whey protein contamination scare has been released, sighting New Zealand’s food safety regulation model as one of the best in the world.
The report, which was released today lists a total of 29 recommendations designed to further strengthen the nation’s food safety standards, The NZ Herald reports.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says that as exports to China have trebled since 2007, it is vital that food safety systems exceed international standards.
"New Zealand's export performance depends heavily on the success of the dairy sector and we are committed to ensuring its underpinning food safety system remains world-leading,'' said Guy.
Key recommendations in the report include:
- Strengthening capability in emerging export markets, particularly China
- Establishing a centre of food safety science and research
- Increasing dairy processing and regulatory capability
- Establishing a food safety and assurance advisory council to provide high level independent advice and risk analysis
- Fast-tracking work to consolidate and simplify legislation and regulations
Peak body for the infant formula industry in Australia and New Zealand, The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) has welcomed the report, stating that industry and government must now work together to enact the recommendations stipulated in the report to ensure the highest standard in food safety.
“The issues raised are very much top of mind for the industry and for the Council,” says INC Chief Executive Jan Carey.
“As a sector, we are committed to constant improvement. We see this as an opportunity to improve manufacturing and supply processes and we will be studying the report thoroughly to ensure all the lessons are learned, as well as working closely with the Government to help deliver the report’s recommendations.
“The most important message, as is highlighted in this report, is that New Zealand continues to produce high quality products under world leading food safety systems."