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An agreement between the government and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recognises each other’s food safety systems, has huge implications for exporters of manufactured foods, Food and Grocery Council CEO Katherine Rich says.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the FDA have signed the Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement, which recognises each other’s food safety systems as providing a comparable degree of food safety assurance. It covers all foods and animal feeds regulated by the FDA, which equates to $1.5 billion of New Zealand’s current exports of primary products.
New Zealand is the first country to sign such an agreement with the FDA.
“This agreement has the potential to be huge for New Zealand’s manufactured food exports,” Mrs Rich says in a statement,
“It means New Zealand exporters don’t have to meet a different set of standards before they can be accepted for import into the US.
“Instead of our exports having to meet US requirements to deliver ‘safe food’, they can meet New Zealand standards because the outcome of ‘safe food’ is the same as the US outcome.
“Basically, the FDA has recognised New Zealand’s food safety system as comparable to its own, and that is huge.
“It will lessen the potential regulatory burden for foods traded between the countries by removing unnecessary duplication of activities, and that means big cost savings for our manufacturers. And it is likely to open the door for more of our manufactured food exports because US importers now don’t have to think twice when considering buying our goods.
“This agreement is part of an overall strategy for strengthening the global food safety net through closer collaboration with regulators around the world, and anything that does that can be only good news for New Zealand’s food-exports-led economy," Mrs Rich says.