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AgriQuality Assurance Mark launched

MEDIA STATEMENT

AgriQuality New Zealand
For immediate release

18 November 1999

AgriQuality Assurance Mark launched

The AgriQuality New Zealand Assurance Mark is being launched today. The Assurance Mark can be used to independently verify the production and processing systems for farm, food, forestry and plant products.

AgriQuality's Assurance Services General Manager, Malcolm Linn, says the company is receiving high levels of interest in the Assurance Mark, particularly from producers and processors who are looking for independent verification of their quality processes as a point of difference in their marketing.

"There is an increasing consumer demand for greater knowledge and certainty about food products both for exports and in the domestic market. Switched on producers, processors and retailers are making every effort to meet this demand.

"The AgriQuality Assurance Mark verifies the objective quality claims made by a company about its product. This is a significant tool in product marketing because it gives confidence to increasingly doubtful consumers."

Mr Linn says that the AgriQuality Assurance Mark fills a need in the food and agribusiness industries.

"There is a large number of food and agribusiness companies who understand that increasing the quality of their product is an investment in their success. With the AgriQuality Assurance Mark, there is now a way that they can promote their quality investment, verified by an independent agency with expertise and years of experience across the food and agribusiness industries."

Mr Linn says that the AgriQuality Assurance Mark can be used to verify a range of processes and claims across the food and agribusiness industries.

"Traceability's a big issue - the Assurance Mark can signify AgriQuality's verification of a company's ingredient traceability programmes.

"Similarly, if a company wants to make a claim such as GM free or organic, we can work alongside them to develop systems to this effect and independently verify the claim.

"Other areas that can be verified such as hygiene and production processes can also be signified using the AgriQuality Assurance Mark." cont


Mr Linn says that the Assurance Mark will only be used to verify objective, quantifiable claims.

"AgriQuality experts work alongside companies to ensure that their quality assurance systems and testing processes are up to scratch. We advise companies how to get these systems up to verifiable standards. It is important to realise that the Assurance Mark is awarded when we're confident about standing behind the claims a company is making.

"Part of the Assurance Mark process is regular quality assurance checks by AgriQuality. If a company's standards slip, we'll remove that company's right to use the Assurance Mark."

Mr Linn says that the heart of the Assurance Mark system is the provision of detailed information for consumers.

"Every Assurance Mark has an individual number. By visiting our website www.agriquality.co.nz, or by dialling our tollfree number (0800 277 878) consumers will be able to get details about the processes and claims the Assurance Mark assures for each company and product."

AgriQuality New Zealand, a State Owned Enterprise formerly part of MAF Quality Management, was established in November 1998. AgriQuality is an independent supplier of testing and assurance services to the food and agribusiness industries.


ends

For further information please contact;
Vivien Pullar
Ph (04) 4999-111


A PDF file of AgriQuality's Assurance Mark logo is available for reproduction on request.


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