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NZFSA announces reviews into A1/A2 milk claims

NZFSA announces reviews into A1/A2 milk claims

In light of continuing allegations regarding the food safety implications of A1/A2 milk, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is to commission an independent review of both the science related to A1/A2 milk and secondly NZFSA's response to these allegations and NZFSA's statements relating to the safety of the New Zealand milk supply.

The reviews will be undertaken by an internationally respected independent expert with experience in risk management decision making. They will review again the scientific opinion available when NZFSA commissioned its initial study into the health claims being made by A2 Milk Corporation, published in July 2004, together with any new scientific evidence published since that time.

The second aspect will review how, in light of the 2004 study, NZFSA concluded that there was insufficient evidence to change its position that New Zealanders should continue to drink milk – a nutritious food, no matter whether it's A1 or A2.

Dr Andrew McKenzie, Acting Chief Executive of NZFSA, says: "We've made the decision to commission these new reviews as a result of continuing allegations made in the media about consumption of New Zealand's conventional milk supplies and about our decision-making process and exercise of our food safety mandate.

"We want to assure all New Zealanders that our role is to protect consumers and promote public health. The decisions that we make in order to do that are based on sound, scientific evidence and common sense.

"NZFSA is always re-evaluating the weight of scientific evidence relating to food safety on a wide range of issues and we are ready to act if that evidence shows a need. Our risk assessment experts carry out due diligence on all the science that comes across their desks.

"When strident claims are made by individuals on a particular food safety issue, especially in the case of a standard food such as milk, we are obviously concerned. We evaluate such claims but must be confident that they have scientific validity before taking any regulatory action.

"In the case of A1/A2 milk and the claims made by Professor Woodford, we have no cause to change our current position on the safety of milk.

"Raising fears about milk could cause some people, particularly children and pregnant women, to stop or cut back on their intake of a nutritious and health-promoting food or substitute it for less healthy choices. This would undoubtedly lead to measurable and serious adverse health effects.

"We also become concerned when people link unproven claims such as those on A1/A2 milk with historical events such as mad cow disease in the United Kingdom when there is no similarity in context.

"We hope these two peer reviews will answer the allegations about the safety of milk that we believe are creating unnecessary fear and concern for New Zealanders – and show that NZFSA's science-based decision making processes remain credible, reliable and trustworthy."

Food Safety Minister Annette King has welcomed this move and will be consulted on issues such as the terms of reference, the reviewers appointed, and the timeline. The terms of reference will be released as soon as they are available.


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