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Meat and poultry hygiene focus of int conference

Meat and poultry hygiene focus of international conference

Risk management in the production of meat and poultry will be the topic under discussion at a major international committee hosted by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority in Wellington next week.

About 100 international government delegates and industry representatives from countries as diverse as Botswana and Belgium will descend on Wellington between 17 and 21 February for the ninth session of the Codex Committee on Meat and Poultry Hygiene. The meeting is being held at the Duxton Hotel.

The committee is part of the Codex Alimentarus Commission – an international agency set up by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The committee is chaired by NZFSA Executive Director Dr Andrew McKenzie.

Codex aims to protect the health of consumers and promote fair practices in the food trade by setting international food standards for commodities such as fruit, fish, meat and dairy production as well as guidelines for related processes. These guidelines include food safety risk analysis, labelling, inspection and certification.

“The aim of this Committee is to provide member countries with a revised Code that will enhance and establish general principles of food hygiene for meat with the intention of protecting consumers and ensuring fair practices in food trade,” Dr McKenzie says.

“After last year’s Codex Committee on Meat and Poultry Hygiene, New Zealand led a working group to review the existing codes of practice. Having completed that it is now time to go back to the Committee to hear their views,” Dr McKenzie says.

“This is an important meeting as New Zealand has been one of the countries leading the way towards a more flexible outcome-focused meat hygiene system rather than the more prescriptive process-driven approach favoured previously.”

“The adoption of Codex principles will mean export trade will be simplified as replication of compliance processes and costs will be reduced for countries engaged in international trade.”

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