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Imported food testing gets Green Budget boost

13 May 2008

Imported food testing regime gets Green Budget boost

Additional funding of $2.4 million over four years secured by the Green Party in Budget 2008 will improve the monitoring and testing of foods that are imported into New Zealand.

"The additional testing regime for imported food will ensure consumers can have greater confidence in the safety of food brought in from overseas," Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley says more than 2.5 million tonnes of food are imported into New Zealand each year, but at present only foods that are categorised as being high risk are tested by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

"The new funding will enable the authority to extend its monitoring and testing regime to imported foods other than those considered high risk.

"It will also allow random testing so that the authority can identify and manage potential food safety issues early on - and hopefully before problems arise," Ms Kedgley says.

"With the huge amount of imported food coming into New Zealand, consumers want to be assured that imported foods are of the same high standard we expect from our own producers. Consumers have become concerned about the safety of some imported foods as a result of repeated food contamination scares overseas and a lack of transparency in the production and processing systems of some countries.

"The enhanced regime will include a new system which will use complaints, recalls, new research, health scares or border rejections - to alert NZFSA to foods that may warrant closer inspection."


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