23 Nov 2009

Push for major research into health values of food

11:09 am on 23 November 2009

A science adviser to the Prime Minister sees huge potential for New Zealand to produce and sell food with proven health promoting properties.

Stephen Goldson, of AgResearch, says New Zealand is already known for producing safe, high quality food.

Scientists are taking that further by investigating the health-giving components of that food. However, Dr Goldson says that is happening on a small scale.

With large middle class markets emerging in south-east Asia and China, he thinks it is one of the areas that holds greatest promise for New Zealand research.

Dr Goldson says research needs to demonstrate health food values, so it must be biomedically proven value which differentiates what New Zealand's producing and explains clearly, based on proper analysis, why it is good for you.

He says there may be the potential for New Zealand to become well known for its research capability in food and its value for human health.

Dr Goldson sees research to reduce green house emissions from ruminant animals as the other area where New Zealand could make significant gains.

He says it can do that best by making it an international effort through initiatives such as the Government's global alliance plan.