Friday, July 8, 2022

Fonterra crisis: Food safety concerns growing in China

Two food safety conferences in China have discussed the ways international industrial food chains are becoming increasingly contaminated by chemicals and diseases, Organics Aotearao NZ chairman Brendan Hoare says.

Hoare has just returned from China where he attended conferences in Kunming and Beijing with 50 scientists from around the world.

"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 NZ seems to be," Hoare said.

"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.

"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.

"NZ'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 NZ'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," Hoare said.

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