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Health Minister to open OCEANIAFOODS Conference

Health Minister to open OCEANIAFOODS Conference

Health Minister Annette King will tomorrow (13 April) open the 7th OCEANIAFOODS Conference, which will focus on "Innovations in Nutrient Information." The three-day conference in Wellington is being co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and Crop & Food Research.

OCEANIAFOODS is one of the regional data centres of INFOODS, the International Network of Food Data Quality Systems. INFOODS aims to co-ordinate efforts to improve the quality and availability of food composition data around the world.

About 50 nutritionists, researchers, analysts and food industry representatives from as far afield as Hawaii and the Federated States of Micronesia will attend the conference.

Ashley Bloomfield, Ministry of Health Chief Advisor Public Health, believes the event offers a fantastic opportunity for international collaboration.

"New Zealanders will be able to swap ideas and information with like-minded colleagues from around the world," he said.

"Sharing data can benefit all countries in the Oceania region as our food intakes are becoming more similar due to more people travelling, a more diverse population here in New Zealand and increased import and export of foods. We will be able to share new methodologies and approaches for analysing the nutrient content of foods, with the end goal of having a more co-ordinated system."

New Zealand's food composition work is often used as a model for other countries developing similar programmes, Dr Bloomfield said.
Funded by the Ministry of Health and Crop & Food Research, the New Zealand Food Composition Database includes information on more than 2700 foods for each of 49 core nutrients. The data are primarily used in national nutrition surveys and nutrition research studies, but also used when formulating food and nutrition policies and guidelines, in the development of food standards and nutrition labels, and for education and dietary counselling.

Two speakers at the OCEANIAFOODS conference are attending as recipients of the Ministry of Health Student Grant Fellowships. The conference finishes on Friday.


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