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New Food Safety Authority Set To Launch

27 June 2002

More consumer protection and less bureaucracy will be just two of the major benefits of the establishment of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, Te Pou Oranga kai O Aotearoa, from July 1.

NZFSA Executive Director Dr Andrew McKenzie said the new Authority would combine the functions of MAF Food and the Ministry of Health in one agency to provide a more integrated approach to food safety. At present the Ministry of Health administers the Food Act which covers food sold domestically while MAF administers legislation surrounding primary production, processing and exports. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority will be a semi-autonomous body attached to MAF.

"Bringing these functions together under one agency will enable New Zealand to provide consistency in the management of food safety from the beginning of the food chain to the end," Dr McKenzie said.

"Our vision to is have a world-leading food regulatory programme that has the confidence of all stakeholders while at the same time protects consumers from food borne illness and enhances New Zealand's position as a trusted food supplier," he said.

"One of our main aims is to ensure that all New Zealanders have confidence in the food they purchase and consume. The Authority will set appropriate standards and ensure those standards are rigorously enforced. Over the next few years the Authority will streamline the application of regulations and standardise requirements for food production. This will mean that the food industry will work to one set of rules whether they are providing product for the local or export markets."

"Food is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are 30,000 businesses licensed to produce, sell, manufacture and process food in New Zealand so robust food standards and regulations are of the utmost importance. More than 50 percent - $11 billion per annum - of New Zealand's export earnings comes from food. About 80 percent of all the food produced in New Zealand is exported, so the value of having safe food is immeasurable. In fact our reputation depends on it."

A Food Safety Advisory Board will provide independent advice to the Minister of Food Safety Annette King and an 0800 number - 0800 NZFSA1 (0800 693 721) - has been set up for consumers as the first point of contact for food safety concerns and information.

The appointment of Dr Andrew McKenzie as executive director of the Authority was announced earlier this month. Dr McKenzie has wide-ranging experience in domestic and international food safety and has a backgound in New Zealand's primary processing of animal products and their exports. He has worked extensively in the international food safety standard setting environment.

The Authority will be launched at three functions in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on July 2. Its new office at 68 Jervois Quay, Wellington will open on July 1.

Ends

For more information contact Dr Andrew McKenzie, executive director, NZ Food Safety Authority on 04 474 4250 or 021 430 187 or Sharon Williams, Communications Adviser, 04 470 2760

Contact details for the new authority are:

New Zealand Food Safety Authority

68 Jervois Quay

PO Box 2835

Wellington

Phone 04 463 2500

Fax 04 463 2501


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