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Food Safety Authority reassures milk drinkers

Food Safety Authority reassures milk drinkers

21 September 2007

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority's (NZFSA) expert opinion that milk, whether A1 or A2, remains safe to drink has not changed after careful consideration of Keith Woodford's book.

"The book provides no evidence that would lead us to change our opinion that milk is anything but safe," says Dr Donald Campbell, NZFSA Principal Adviser (Public Health). "The book notes A1 milk has been a staple food in many parts of the world for more than 5000 years and correctly points out the differing views on the possible health effects of its consumption. We judge that there is no substantial data presented by Professor Woodford that would lead us to believe that A1 milk is any more or less of a risk than A2 milk.

"We are very concerned that statements about the safety of milk will create unnecessary fears, particularly for the parents of young children, and could lead some people to avoid a food where there is extensive international support for substantial nutritional benefits.

"It is our belief that there is no strong evidence of a link between A1 milk and human illness. We agree that it is possible that more peer reviewed research may help clarify the controversy which has been circulating for more than ten years."

Donald Campbell notes, as Woodford himself says in his book, that A1 milk is the most common variety in most developed nations of the world.

"NZFSA, along with the rest of the world's food safety agencies and the World Health Organization, believes milk is a safe and nutritious product. We believe that further studies are being conducted on this issue, and look forward to the results of these as we do with any research that assists us to make informed food safety decisions.

"It is important to realise that NZFSA and its international counterparts must make safety decisions all the time and do so based on the scientific evidence. None of out counterparts has come to the same conclusions about A1 milk that Keith Woodford has in his personal analysis of this important topic.

"NZFSA's role is to protect consumers and promote public health. NZFSA has no role, as Keith Woodford's book incorrectly asserts, in the promotion of trade or exports. Our role is to provide assurance that the food New Zealand sends meets their requirements and is safe on behalf of the New Zealand Government to the governments of importing countries," said Dr Campbell.

"Protecting the integrity of those assurances is vital for New Zealand's future as a nation trading in food and is a part of NZFSA's mandate. Promoting exports is not and is a mandate of other government agencies including NZTE, MAF and MFAT.

"Further, the lay summary from Professor Swinburn and referred to on many occasions by Woodford is on our website and has been for several years."


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