Food safety for a foodie nation

Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture
Damien O'Connor, Minister of Food Safety and Agriculture.

The new food safety agency, New Zealand Food Safety, has been launched today by Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor, who says its  establishment will help raise the profile of food safety for all New Zealanders.

It is one of four new business units created within the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to create a stronger focus on keys areas of work, along with Biosecurity New Zealand, Fisheries New Zealand and Forestry New Zealand.

“In the spirit of manaakitanga, our food safety system cares for the people producing and processing food, as well as those consuming it. It protects consumers at home and abroad by ensuring that food grown, harvested, imported, processed, transported, stored, exported and sold is safe to eat,” Damien O’Connor said when launching New Zealand Food Safety at the WelTech School of Hospitality in Wellington today.

“The integrity of the food safety system is particularly important to New Zealand because we are a nation of food producers and exporters, and we are trusted across the globe.

“I have asked New Zealand Food Safety to work on five priorities to make compliance easier for businesses – particularly for small, regional or rural food businesses including providing guidance to market stallholders, rolling out templates to reduce costs and allowing those operating under several food safety laws to have one plan.

“Small businesses are vital to New Zealand’s economy. We need to be more focused on supporting and understanding them.

“Their nimbleness and creativity are key to helping our food producing sector stay ahead of consumer trends and reach higher up the value chain.

“New Zealand Food Safety brings together about 390 people from MPI’s food standard setting, verification and assurance teams into one strong and visible business unit.

“Everyone has a vital role to play in food safety – from farmers and producers to hospitality workers, small business-owners and families at home. New Zealand Food Safety’s job is to ensure that everyone within the system has the skills, knowledge and experience to play their part,” says O’Connor.

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