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Ban shows need for stand-alone food agency

Ban shows need for stand-alone food agency


Bans on New Zealand dairy produce show the need for a stand-alone food safety agency, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.

“Bans by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, because they can’t be assured of the quality of our goods, show the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not have systems in place to support our trade representatives who are dealing with food safety issues. This must change.

“The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy should reassess the formation and functions of MPI, which the Government established last year through the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Fisheries, Biosecurity New Zealand and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority,” Damien O’Connor says.

“MPI aims to support to the entire primary sector but this trade ban shows it is failing.”

Best international practice is to have a separate and independent food safety authority, Damien O’Connor says.

“For a country so dependent on food exports, New Zealand should be able to match or better international practice. Countries as diverse as the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Norway all have stand-alone food safety agencies. Why can’t we?”

ends

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