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BSE Liaison group's work continues

31 January 2002 - For Immediate Release

BSE Liaison group's work continues

The BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) liaison group, formed about a year ago, met again in Wellington yesterday (Wednesday 30 January).

The group meets regularly and comprises industry and consumer group representatives and government officials from MAF, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The group discusses information and ensures a co-ordinated approach to BSE issues.

Chair of the group, MAF Food Assurance Authority Group Director, Dr Andrew McKenzie says world knowledge about BSE is limited and it is vital everything possible is done to keep New Zealand free of this disease. BSE has proven devastating for both consumer confidence and beef producers in other countries. As a small country, it's even more important that the various groups involved work closely together.

"The pro-active partnership approach we are taking is in the best interests of New Zealand consumers and our vital food producing industries."

The group aims to work and think strategically to ensure that New Zealand systems reflect the latest information available and that we remain on the front foot in the effort to remain BSE-free.

The meeting formed a working group to progress a range of issues, including those relating to animal feeding, production methods and processing techniques.

"As new knowledge comes to light, we need to work closely with the all of the groups involved so we make the best decisions to ensure New Zealand is protected from the risks associated with this disease." Dr McKenzie said.

ENDS

For further information contact Rachel Dahlberg, MAF Communications Adviser, phone 04 498 9806 or 021 392 431

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