5 Mar 2014

Chinese in NZ over food safety reforms

7:51 am on 5 March 2014

Chinese officials will be in New Zealand this month checking out the country's dairy and regulatory systems.

The visit follows food safety reforms announced in China last year, which include tighter controls on dairy and infant formula products sent there.

Under China's new rules, all dairy and infant formula manufacturers, as well as cold and dry store operators handling dairy products for export there have to be registered with that country's Certification and Accreditation Administration by May.

Infant formula manufacturers also have to fill in a detailed registration application form.

Chinese officials are visting New Zealand this month to audit dairy production and regulatory systems as part of the registration process.

Ministry for Primary Industries audit specialists will accompany the Chinese team while they are in New Zealand, and the ministry says the audit will survey only a sample of infant formula and dairy manufacturers, stores, farms and laboratories.

But it says the registration process is comprehensive, with more than 350 dairy manufacturers and stores and 18 infant formula manufacturers seeking registration.

The ministry says its priority is to ensure that the registration and audit process runs as smoothly as possible, so that New Zealand dairy and infant formula manufacturers producing goods for China, along with others in the supply chain, are registered by the May deadline.

Infant formula exporters have raised concerns that smaller operators may be squeezed out of the trade.