New food industry group to tackle dairy traceability
A new food industry working group will be set up to improve dairy traceability after Fonterra’s botulism scare last August.
“The independent government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident highlighted the importance of effective systems for dairy traceability,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.
“The inquiry recommended lifting the dairy sector’s ability to trace products and ingredients through a working group focusing on regulatory and worldwide best practices.”
The announcement also comes in the wake of National Business Review exposing the worrying extent of the grey trade in New Zealand milk powder that has led, in part, to Chinese authorities effectively taking over the regulation and auditing of exports to China.
“Improving the traceability of dairy products will further protect the public in the event of a suspected food safety issue,” Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said at the launch.
The working group will be headed by independent chairman Dr John Larkindale, who is a former New Zealand high commissioner to Australia, Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing and Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He also has a science background, with a PhD from McGill University in Montréal, Canada.
“The working group will include representatives from the dairy and wider food industries and will investigate possible changes to regulations and industry practices to improve food and ingredient traceability,” Ms Kaye says.
The traceability working group will report to Primary Industries Ministry director-general Martyn Dunne.
Members will be appointed from:
- Food and Grocery Council
- New Zealand Retailers Association
- GS1 New Zealand
- Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) representative of large-scale manufacturers
- DCANZ representative of small-scale producers of retail-ready dairy products
- Infant Nutrition Council
- New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters’ Association
- One member each from MPI and AsureQuality
“MPI advises me that the group’s membership will be finalised this month and it will have its first meeting in March to determine its terms of reference and work programme, including timeframes for reporting back,” Ms Kaye says.