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Dalziel: Launch of NZFSA's wild food safety resour

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Food Safety,
Associate Minister of Justice, MP for Christchurch East

25 August 2008 Speech Notes

Launch of NZFSA's wild food safety resources

Speech by Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel at the launch of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's Wild Food Safety DVD and related resources
Logan Brown Restaurant
Cuba Street, Wellington

Good afternoon and welcome everyone. What a fitting venue to host our wild food resources launch. I’m sure most of you know Logan Brown Restaurant is renowned for its use of wild food in its menus, and owners Stephen Logan and Alistair Brown are both passionate wild foodies so I'm delighted they have agreed to host us this afternoon.

We're here to launch a new wild food safety DVD and booklets that will help the large number of Kiwis who hunt, fish or gather food from the wild understand how to handle - from a food safety perspective - the wild food they catch, store and eat.

I’m sure many of you have great tales to tell of your adventures in search of wild food, whether it be more sedate activities such as collecting pipis on the beach; dropping a line over the wharf in the hope you’ll hook a fish; hiding out in a maimai in the early hours practising your duck calls; or for the more adventurous, going bush for several days in search of that elusive deer or wild pig to stock the family freezer over winter. Collecting and hunting wild food is a traditional activity for our Maori, Pacific and pakeha cultures and it is a rite of passage for many young Kiwis. Wild food doesn't just feature in our kitchens, it has an important place in our family and community histories, our literature and our oral traditions. It is an iconic part of kiwi life – part of our identity as a nation.

To date, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s role relating to wild food has revolved around regulating the commercial sector, to ensure adequate food hygiene practices by businesses supplying game meat to restaurants such as Logan Brown. But back in 2005 NZFSA decided to take a look at the potential risks around non-commercial wild food – that is wild food for personal consumption, rather than for sale.

NZFSA asked the Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research Ltd (ESR) to look at the chemical risks (poisons) and microbial risks (bacterial contamination) from wild food. I'm pleased to say the research showed that wild foods don’t present a huge risk, but it did identify a lack of reliable information on harvesting and consumption. From this, the wild foods project was born.

Despite the popularity of hunting and gathering wild food it can be difficult to find information on how to keep your wild food safe. The lack of information identified by ESR has driven the development of the resources we are launching today.

NZFSA’s new wild food safety resources fill that information gap so that hunters and gatherers will know how to treat safely the wild food they catch and eat.

The material covers food safety when handling wild game and seafood. It’s a comprehensive source of information, giving advice on the preparations you should make before leaving home; how to handle your catch when you’re in the bush or on the boat; keeping it clean and fresh while transporting it home; packaging it for the fridge or freezer; and last, but by no means least, how to cook it safely for you and your family to enjoy.

Our lifestyles have changed the way many of us now approach wild food. The practice of collecting food from the wild continues to be popular, however at the same time our population is becoming more urbanised. Some of us now might only have the opportunity to collect pipis when we are on holiday over summer, others might take one or two hunting trips a year. This material is for these people, as well as for those keen hunters and seafood gatherers who head to the hills or the sea as often as they can.

The package includes the Wild Food Safety DVD and two printed publications, Food Safety for Hunters and Food Safety for Seafood Gatherers. These booklets support the information provided in the DVD and give guidance on where else people can go for information.

I’d like to thank the many people who have lent their support in developing these resources. Their help has come in many forms, and it has been invaluable to us in ensuring that the end product is not only a high quality, user friendly resource that provides credible and practical advice to wild food hunters and gatherers.

Thanks to Darren Meates [pronounced Mates] the Game Butcher, who fronts the wild game chapter of the DVD; the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, for their feedback and advice; Andy Tannock and the team at Hunting & Fishing New Zealand who are distributing the DVD to more than 90,000 households across New Zealand; Ric Cullinane at Fish & Game for his advice on game birds and for fronting the game bird chapter of the DVD; Bruce Underwood from Fiskar Brands who provided the fishing and hunting knives for the film shoot and are also helping with the distribution costs; Neil Mercer at the team at Kanuka Wilderness Estate for allowing the project team to take over his property for a day for filming; and everyone else who agreed to feature on the DVD.

This kind of collaboration is important because it gives us the opportunity to learn from one another, explore ideas and produce something useful that we can all be proud of. I'd also like to repeat my thanks to Stephen Logan and Alistair Brown and their team for hosting us today.

This launch is by no means the end of NZFSA’s involvement in wild food. Kiwis will continue to hunt and gather food from the wild, and there will always be more work to be done. But it is encouraging to see projects like this come to fruition. In the future, NZFSA hopes to extend their wild food safety information to include land plants, fungi, fruits and berries. In the meantime, I'm confident that they're off to a pretty good start.

So thank you again to all those who helped make this DVD happen, for your willing collaboration and your invaluable advice. It is my pleasure to declare the NZFSA’s Wild Food Safety resources officially launched.


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