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Working group set up to improve dairy traceability

Hon Nathan Guy
Minister for Primary Industries

Hon Nikki Kaye
Minister for Food Safety

18 February 2014

Working group set up to improve dairy traceability

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced a working group set up to improve dairy traceability.

“The independent Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident highlighted the importance of effective systems for dairy traceability,” Mr Guy says.

“The Inquiry recommended lifting the dairy sector’s ability to trace products and ingredients through a working group focusing on regulatory and worldwide best practices.”

“Improving the traceability of dairy products will further protect the public in the event of a suspected food safety issue,” Ms Kaye says.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is well advanced in setting up a working group that will be headed by independent chair Dr John Larkindale.

“The working group will include representatives from the dairy and wider food industries and will investigate possible changes to regulations and industry practices to improve food and ingredient traceability,” Ms Kaye says.

The traceability working group will report to MPI Director General Martyn Dunne. Members will be appointed from:

• Food and Grocery Council
• New Zealand Retailers Association
• GS1 New Zealand
• Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) representative of large-scale manufacturers
• DCANZ representative of small-scale producers of retail-ready dairy products
• Infant Nutrition Council
• New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters’ Association
• One member each from MPI and AsureQuality

“MPI advises me that the group’s membership will be finalised this month and it will have its first meeting in March to determine its terms of reference and work programme, including timeframes for reporting back,” Ms Kaye says.

“Collectively the group will have a range of important skills, including an understanding of best practice for traceability at a regulatory and industry level; first-hand knowledge of how dairy supply chains work; international experience; and experience with New Zealand’s regulatory frameworks,” Mr Guy says.

“The independent inquiry into last year’s WPC incident found that New Zealand’s food safety regulatory model for dairy is consistent with international principles and is among the best in the world. These changes will further strengthen the system.”

“It is crucial for government and industry to work together on this issue. In order to have full traceability, both government and industry systems must be robust and aligned,” Ms Kaye says.

Dr John Larkindale

Dr John Larkindale is a former New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing and Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has held several positions at the Ministry in New Zealand and overseas since joining in 1972.

Dr Larkindale also has a science background, with a PhD from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Amongst the range of senior positions Dr Larkindale has held in Wellington and overseas, he was for a time Director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

ENDS

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