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Infant formula market assurance work announced

Hon Nikki Kaye

Minister for Food Safety

27 June 2013 Media Statement       

Infant formula market assurance work announced

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye has today confirmed a work plan to further protect and strengthen confidence in New Zealand’s food assurance systems to match rapid growth in infant formula exports.

“As Food Safety Minister I have asked the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to undertake the following work programme:

•          An audit on New Zealand’s existing regulatory regime to identify any areas for improvement. This includes work on verification, compliance and testing regimes. MPI is already prioritising Codex (international food standards body) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) work to review end product standards for infant formula.

•          A check that New Zealand’s Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) keep pace with changes being introduced in China’s regulations for infant formula. Recently MPI introduced a brand register for infant formula manufactured in New Zealand to enhance consumer confidence and ensure the integrity of New Zealand branded products in China, but there are possibly other improvements that can be made.

•          Investigate mechanisms to better collaborate and communicate with markets in Asia, particularly China, in areas such as science and labelling. It is my intention to visit China in the near future to discuss future initiatives.

“New Zealand’s infant formula exports are estimated at about $600 million a year, with approximately $170 million of that going to China.

“China and New Zealand have a strong reputation of working together to ensure the integrity of traded products.

“Export assurances are particularly important for infant formula exports where consumers have strong concerns about food safety, quality and product integrity.

“This work plan is very much a proactive approach to ensure we are staying current and responding to consumer needs and expectations. It is my intention to work closely with industry on this.

“New Zealand’s reputation around the world as a leading producer of safe and trusted food is extremely important to our competitive advantage as exporters. As the food sector accounts for 54 per cent of our total export value, we take this very seriously and this work will be on going.”

ENDS

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