Food safety report spurs government action

An independent report into the Fonterra botulism scare has been released and the central government has accepted the recommendations put forward.

The government this week released the report on the first stage of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident and said it will accept in principle all 29 recommendations. The report’s independent authors found that the food safety regulations in New Zealand were not to blame for the incident, noting:

“Was the incident due in any way to a crisis or failure in the regulatory food safety system governing the dairy industry? Our conclusion is no. The immediate causes of this incident appear to lie

However the report did put forward recommendations to improve the food safety regulation environment in New Zealand.

The government has agreed to a number of key recommendations including:

  • Strengthening capability in emerging export markets, particularly China.
  • Establishing a centre of food safety science and research.
  • Increasing dairy processing and regulatory capability.
  • Establishing a food safety and assurance advisory council .
  • Fast-tracking work to consolidate and simplify legislation and regulations.

The Government will allocate between $8-12 million per year for the outlined initiatives. Fonterra has also welcomed the report with chief executive Theo Spierings saying “The report and its recommendations will help further strengthen New Zealand’s robust food safety regulatory systems.”

Media coverage of the report and government response includes:

MSN NZ News: Botulism scare sparks food safety moves
Radio New Zealand: Report questions MPI over food safety Food traceability rules being tightened
TVNZ News: Report into botulism scare backs food safety systems
NZ Herald: Federated Farmers: Better food safety needed
3 News: Inquiry reassuring – infant formula makers