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Food safety is a top priority in China

Media release 5 August 2013 For immediate release

Organic leader warns that food safety is a top priority in China

Organics Aotearoa NZ Chair Brendan Hoare has just returned from a four day conference on food safety held in two cities in China (Kunming and Beijing) 50 leading scientists from China and around the world presented at the conference, and there was lively discussion on the ways in which international industrial food chains are becoming increasingly contaminated by chemicals and diseases.

"I have been travelling to China regularly on business for the past eight years, and every year I have seen public concern over food safety issues growing steadily. Now government at both provincial and national levels in China is taking public concerns seriously - more seriously than New Zealand seems to be," said Mr Hoare.

"The particular emphasis of the food safety conference I attended in July was on the way in which genetically engineered foodstuffs, as well as posing health and safety risks in themselves, increase rather than decrease the risks from other contaminants, especially pesticide chemicals", he said. "This is equally applicable to other unwelcome contaminants affecting foodstuffs during growing and processing, as has happened with the current botulism contamination of Fonterra products that provoked a rapid response from the Chinese authorities."

"New Zealand's position in the world is unique. People around the world want clean, green and safe food. It's crucial that we appreciate that Chinese and other foreign consumers are becoming increasingly aware that New Zealand's clean, green and safe image as a food supplier to the world is somewhat lacking in substance. We have to match the rhetoric with reality or lose market share."


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