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One Stop Shop For Food Safety

5 April, 2001


Consumer Interests Require One Stop Shop For Food Safety

Consumer health interests require the early establishment of a unified New Zealand food agency with specific responsibilities and autonomy to act cross a full range of health, safety, biosecurity, trade and regulatory issues, the New Zealand Food Forum said in a statement issued today.

Members of the forum include the Retail and Wholesale Merchants’ Association, the Grocery Marketers Association, the Meat Industry Association, Meat New Zealand, the New Zealand Seafood Industry, the New Zealand Pork Industry Board, the New Zealand Beer, Wine and Spirits Council, the New Zealand Bakers Association, The New Zealand Breakfast Cereals Industry, representatives of the dairy industry, the Wine Industry of New Zealand, the Poultry Industry Association and the Fruitgrowers Federation.

“New Zealand can no longer afford to have differing aspects of food administration divided among various government ministries and departments with successful operations totally dependent on close collaboration between them on a day to day basis.

“Divided food administration in the United Kingdom has been discredited, not least because it took authorities there so long to get on top of the BSE problem. A single administrative agency has now been set up.

“New Zealand must have a one-stop shop where issues of consumer food safety, hygeine, bio-security, regulatory approvals, trade requirements and standards can be dealt with.

“Shared administration and responsibilities expose both consumers and the agricultural sector to risk from inadequate administrative, policing and control procedures.

“There must be one agency responsible that consumers and industry can look to as the authority in all matters affecting standards, safety, hygeine, biosecurity and trade. It is not good enough for such a vital safety and health area to be left in the hands of several ministries and departments each with differing responsibilities.

“Inadequate sharing of knowledge between ministries was a key element in Britain’s inability to determine early on the ramifications of isolated BSE discoveries. We don’t want this happening here. Both public health and agricultural trade issues are at stake.


“Some 80 percent of the food produced in New Zealand is for export and we must have a food agency second to none in the quality of regulatory control and security.

“New Zealand has a global reputation for the quality of its food production and an enviable record in respect of domestic food safety. We want to keep it that way and we believe the establishment of a single unified agency covering all aspects of food administration is urgently needed if the country is to avoid the regrettable circumstances that have arisen in Britain and Europe.”

Ends

For further information:

Brenda Cutress
Grocery Marketers Association
Tel: (04) 473-9223 or 021-620-449

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