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Egg Producers Federation Disappointed

Egg Producers Federation Disappointed At NZFSA Exemption Decision

Friday 18 March 2005 - Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand Egg Producers Federation (EPF) is both disappointed and frustrated over the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) decision to exempt some egg producers from Risk Management Programmes (RMPs).

“This decision undermines the very basis of the RMP process which was intended to raise standards and ensure consistently best practice products for consumers” says EPF Executive Director, Michael Brooks.

The NZFSA decision to exempt egg farmers with flocks of 100 birds or less from having a Risk Management Programme and who sell eggs directly to the public has the Egg Producers Federation concerned about NZFSA’s ability to monitor and act upon unsafe farms. It is estimated that around 10-12,000 people throughout New Zealand engage in small or backyard farming of eggs.

NZFSA’s Programme Manager (Animal Products and Food Act), Cherie Flynn stated that the exemption is based on an evaluation of risk and not the method of production. In this case the risk from the potential impact of sales from 100 birds on human health was considered to be “negligible”.

The Egg Producers Federation disagrees with this on the basis that their support for the initiative was to minimise potential risk of disease to its’ lowest possible factor which could only be achieved by applying the same safety compliance regulations across all egg producers no matter the size. Brooks says that “whilst New Zealand prides itself on its unique disease free status across all three egg production systems we cannot wait for unwanted disease to arrive and then act. The proactive approach is best for industry and best for the consumer”.

EPF disappointed at NZFSA decision

Whilst some small egg farmers have lobbied to have the RMP requirement overturned for them on the basis that it was cost prohibitive to implement, Brooks says that any issue of cost lies with the NZFSA. “It is disappointing that their response to it has been to grant an exemption rather than to rework the process into a more cost effective proposition for farmers that would uphold food safety protection for consumers which was the overriding NZFSA objective in the first place”.

New Zealander’s currently consume 864 million eggs per year, and the egg is regarded as the lowest cost form of natural protein available to New Zealander’s.

ENDS

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