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Launch of New Zealand Food Safety Authority

1 July 2002

Food Safety Minister Annette King today launched the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

“Food safety is very important for all of us and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority has been set up to protect consumers and enhance New Zealand’s position as a trusted food supplier,“ said Ms King.

“Food is a multi-billion dollar business in New Zealand. There are more than 30,000 businesses selling, manufacturing or processing food and more than 50 percent of New Zealand’s export earnings come from food or food-related exports.”

Ms King said the new agency brings together the skills and expertise of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Health.

“The food industry and consumers will benefit from a single agency dealing with food safety. It will provide a strong co-ordinated approach to reducing the incidence of food borne illness and managing food related risks.

Food industry and consumer input to the Food Safety Authority will be sought through the Food Safety Advisory Board, which will provide independent advice to me.

“The food industry will be responsible for producing safe food and will have to prove they are doing the right thing. The Government will act as the regulator setting appropriate standards and auditing and enforcing these.

“In time, prescriptive standards will make way for standards that best suit the needs of producers and deliver safe food to consumers. The industry will be given flexibility for processing innovation but must ensure maximum protection for consumers,” said Ms King.

Ms King said the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board, which has replaced the Australian New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), will continue its good work under the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. ANZFA was responsible for introducing food labelling for all products sold in New Zealand and Australia.

“New Zealand has the most comprehensive food-labelling regime in the world. All genetically modified (GM) food under the regime put in place in 2001 must be labelled to ensure the consumers have as much information as possible about the content of the food they eat.

”GM food in New Zealand must comply with international standards set by the World Health Organization and Codex Alimentarius.”

“This Government takes food issues, food information and food safety very seriously and I am confident New Zealand, through the Food Safety Authority, will boast a world leading food regulatory programme.”

Ends

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