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New Zealand Works With China On Food Safety

15 December 2009

NEW ZEALAND - Chinese senior food safety officials have just left the country after a two-week food safety study programme with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

While New Zealand has previously hosted a number of Chinese food safety delegations looking at specific issues, this was the first comprehensive food safety study programme looking at the complete system with the Chinese delegation quick to trumpet its success.

The visit follows on from Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson’s visit to China in October and other Ministerial and Prime Ministerial contacts with China in which cooperation activities have featured.

During their visit the delegation of 12 Chinese central government officials participated in technical workshops to discuss and further understand New Zealand’s respected food regulatory system. They also visited seafood, meat and dairy businesses and farms to see how food safety standards are applied here.

NZFSA senior deputy director Bill Jolly says the study visit has been a great example of how China and New Zealand have worked closely together on food safety culminating in the provisions on food trade in the free trade agreement signed in 2008.

He says the delegation has been keen to understand more about New Zealand’s science and risk-based regulatory approach to managing health and food safety. “They have shown an in-depth base knowledge which indicates the level of commitment China is putting into food safety. They have also posed searching questions in order to fully understand how we manage risks in our food supply and they will share their insights with central government in China.”

Next year officials from NZFSA and MAF will visit Beijing to conduct seminars on New Zealand’s experiences with the World Trade Organisation concept of regionalisation and equivalence and how the appropriate use of these concepts can provide the necessary assurances in a more targeted and efficient way.

NZFSA will also continue to work with the Chinese authorities on their implementation of the NZFSA-developed electronic certification (E-cert) system for managing secure assurances on foods exported by New Zealand to China. This may expand into China adapting E-cert for use in its own food control systems.

TheFishSite News Desk



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