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NZ Food Safety Authority looks to the future

New Zealand Food Safety Authority looks to the future

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has announced a review of its internal structure and processes to ensure it is "fit for purpose" and properly positioned to meet the future requirements of consumers of New Zealand food, both domestically and internationally, and the New Zealand food sector.

Protecting and promoting public health and safety, and facilitating market access for New Zealand's food and food-related products are the two key functions of NZFSA.

Food and consumers' expectations are changing constantly, as are methods of production, processing and preparation. Many countries rely on food imports or exports, and consumers around the globe are buying and eating more types of foods than ever before. This is particularly so in New Zealand, where half of our national income comes from exports of food produced here, and a growing multi-cultural and travelled population are demanding a far wider variety of new and exotic foods.

Andrew McKenzie, Executive Director of NZFSA explains: "NZFSA must respond to the challenge of meeting these demands while ensuring our food is as safe as it can be. While NZFSA has achieved a great deal in its first three years, it is now time to pause and ensure that we are properly positioned to continue to meet both current and future challenges.

"The world is continually evolving in the area of food administration and it is important that NZFSA evolves appropriately. I believe that with some tweaking we can shape ourselves to better meet the existing and future needs and expectations of stakeholders and consumers.

"With that in mind, we have initiated a project that will look at how NZFSA operates, to make sure we have the best approach, in view of our commitments, to ensuring that the food we eat, whether it is imported or domestically produced, is as safe as possible, and that New Zealand-produced food, no matter where in the world it is consumed, meets the requirements and expectations of our global markets. We must be effective and efficient in delivering on these outcomes."

The project, called NZFSA 2005, will focus on the internal structure of NZFSA and look at how it fits with processes such as registrations and approvals, standards setting for the domestic and export markets, and market access.

"At present we have a number of groups whose work is centred around industry sectors and existing legislation. I believe that, to take us forward, we need an approach that sees NZFSA align itself with our risk-management framework," says Andrew.

"The organisational review is about working smarter, about creating an environment that is better able to operate across the production to consumption continuum and about using the technology available to sophisticate processes and systems.

"However, I will also ensure we adopt a fair dollop of commonsense and pragmatism when we examine those aspects of the organisation that are working well, particularly when it comes to preserving the strong links we have developed and continue to enjoy with industry."

It is intended that Project NZFSA 2005 will be completed by August this year and that there will be a "settling in" period following this. NZFSA will make further announcements as the project progresses.


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