4 Mar 2015

Govt to tighten dairy product traceability

10:53 am on 4 March 2015

The Government is tightening up the rules for tracing dairy products and says they may be extended to other food sectors as well.

Jo Goodhew.

Jo Goodhew. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

It follows recommendations from a Dairy Traceability Working Group, which was set up from the government inquiry into the 2013 botulism false alarm, involving whey protein concentrate produced by Fonterra.

The group recommended a number of regulatory changes, which included tightening up the requirement for providing traceability information to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

It said that would improve the accuracy and speed with which companies provided comprehensive traceability information to MPI.

The group had also drawn up a best practice guide for traceability.

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew said traceability was critical for all foods exported from New Zealand, and the government was now considering applying the report's recommendations across all food sectors.

"So MPI is going to be the organsiation that will be looking to recall (products), that will be looking at issues when they arise. Therefore, being able to supply electronically that information to MPI at short notice, knowing where the products are, how much of them and where they are on the supply chain, is very important.

"And once we've got more consistency about how that's done, about how that information is stored and transmitted electronically, we're going to be able to, within a short time, do a much better job in that respect," she said.

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