A second red meat industry delegation was in China in September, continuing the sector’s ‘engagement strategy’ to strengthen relationships between the meat industries in the two countries.
Building on earlier visits by a high level delegation of chairmen and chief executives to China last year and a return visit this year to New Zealand from a delegation led by the China Meat Association (FoodNZ, June/July 2015), this latest outward bound visit from New Zealand had more of a technical focus than in 2014. It gave the opportunity to highlight to the Chinese industry and government some specific aspects of how the New Zealand industry operates, explains Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Tim Ritchie.
The delegation, led by the MIA, participated in the New Zealand Meat Industry Technology Seminar in Qingdao, which was organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as part of its programme for the 2015 Sheep and Beef Technology Road Show China. Guests heard about New Zealand developments in the areas of innovation and automation, including the Ovine Automation Consortium project, from an MIA presentation. In addition, an overview of the ‘New Zealand chilled meat story’ was presented at the seminar by MIA and Alliance Group representatives. This focused on the science underpinning chilled meat production and the processes that have been developed to ensure that customers receive a high quality, safe product.
While in Qingdao, MIA chief executive Tim Ritchie gave a presentation on the New Zealand meat industry structure and competitive challenges and opportunities at the World Meat Industry Development Conference 2015.
The delegation also spent time in Beijing meeting with government agencies and industry organisations.
China has a significant Muslim population, and the country has rapidly grown to become New Zealand’s largest market for halal-certified meat, comments Ritchie.
“In Beijing, the delegation met with the national Islamic body, the China Islamic Association, to strengthen the relationship between the MIA and the CIA and to progress the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations.”
Another meeting was held with the China Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA). As well as being responsible for registrations of processing plants, the CNCA has been tasked with developing China’s administrative requirements for halal products which will be the basis a national standard and certification system.
The MIA’s presentation to CNCA outlined why halal production is a vital part of the New Zealand industry’s business model and how the industry has developed significant expertise in this area over the past 40 years and is now backed by the Ministry of Primary Industry’s Halal Notice.
“Overall, the visit was an important step in continuing to develop the relationship between the industries in the two countries,” says Ritchie.
This article has appeared in Food NZ magazine (December 2015/January 2016) and is reproduced here with permission.