Thursday, July 7, 2022

Strengthening NZ’s food assurance systems

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye has confirmed a work plan to further protect and strengthen confidence in New Zealand’s food assurance systems to match rapid growth in infant formula exports.

Kaye has asked the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to:

  • Do an audit on NZ’s existing regulatory regime to identify any areas for improvement. This includes work on verification, compliance and testing regimes. MPI is already prioritising Codex (international food standards body) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) work to review end product standards for infant formula.
  • Do a check that NZ’s Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) keep pace with changes being introduced in China’s regulations for infant formula. Recently MPI introduced a brand register for infant formula made in NZ to enhance consumer confidence and ensure the integrity of NZ-branded products in China but there are possibly other improvements that can be made.
  • Investigate mechanisms to better collaborate and communicate with markets in Asia, particularly China, in areas such as science and labelling. Kaye will visit China in the near future to discuss future initiatives.

“NZ’s infant formula exports are estimated at about $600 million a year with approximately $170 million of that going to China,” Kaye said.

“China and NZ have a strong reputation of working together to ensure the integrity of traded products.

“Export assurances are particularly important for infant formula exports where consumers have strong concerns about food safety, quality and product integrity.

“This work plan is very much a proactive approach to ensure we are staying current and responding to consumer needs and expectations. It is my intention to work closely with industry on this.

“NZ’s reputation around the world as a leading producer of safe and trusted food is extremely important to our competitive advantage as exporters. As the food sector accounts for 54% of our total export value we take this very seriously and this work will be ongoing.”

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