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Food Industry To Tackle Tough Issues

Media Release, April 2, 2001

Food Industry To Tackle Tough Issues

New Zealand¹s food industry will soon hear firsthand about the potential impacts of genetic modification on food safety.

Dr Lisa Kelly of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) is one of several international experts speaking at New Zealand¹s inaugural HACCP conference next month.

She will comment on whether genetic modification is a food safety issue and consumer perception of genetically modified foods.

The conference will be held on April 3 and 4 in Auckland at the Sky City Hotel and has attracted representatives from some of Australasia¹s largest food industry players.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a systematic method of achieving food safety through an internationally recognised audit process. Although not mandatory in New Zealand for domestic food industries, the animal products industry, including meat and fish, have until November 2002 to establish HACCP risk management programmes. The dairy industry has been implementing the programmes since the early 1990s.

The conference programme features 22 food safety specialists from around the globe. Other key speakers include Professor Merle Pierson, who is believed to be one of the USA¹s leading authorities on HACCP, Brian Casey of the Victorian Meat Authority and Dr Patricia Desmarchelier of Food Science Australia. New Zealander John Aitken of Southern Community Laboratories will also speak about his recent research into antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The conference is being organised by Christchurch-based Food and Health Standards New Zealand Limited in partnership with Food Operations (Australia), organiser of the Australian HACCP conferences.

Food Health Standards managing director and conference convenor Ian Shaw says the conference will highlight emerging trends in food safety as well as providing a forum for discussion on issues facing the industry.

"HACCP is in a fledging stage of development but there is a ground swell to introduce it more widely in New Zealand. While crises such as Europe¹s current foot and mouth epidemic may raise general awareness about food safety, anyone working in that area needs to be focussed on the prevention of these and other issues."

Mr Shaw has been planning the conference for about four months after delegates at last year¹s Australian conference approached organisers to bring a similar event to New Zealand.

"The conference will be invaluable for anyone who handles, produces, processes or sells food either domestically or as an exporter," he says.

The two-day event will be complemented by three practical training courses held from April 2-6. These will provide expert advice on developing food safety programmes, food safety in the produce industry and carrying out internal food safety audits.

Mr Shaw says the conference dinner and trivia night planned for April 3 will give delegates a rare opportunity to discuss issues raised at the conference. About 15 businesses involved in food safety have also signed up to display their services and products as part of the event.

For further details, please contact:

Michelle Budge or Corrie de Vries Glass Tower Phone: (03) 365 1445 Media passes are available if you wish to attend the first New Zealand HACCP conference. Please phone Michelle or Corrie for details.

© Scoop Media

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