16 Aug 2013

Labour says independent food safety agency required

7:13 am on 16 August 2013

The Labour Party says repeated incidents of New Zealand food exports being blocked by overseas markets this year are a sign the Primary Industries super ministry isn't working.

Labour's food safety spokesperson Damien O'Connor says the ban on Fonterra products by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus is a sign the Ministry for Primary Industries isn't able to reassure New Zealand's trading partners about the safety of its food.

He says the ministry is simply too big.

"The food safety authority, biosecurity New Zealand, agriculture, forestry, fisheries has all been lumped into one government agency, one super ministry, the Ministry for Primary Industries and I consider that it's got far too broad a range of responsibilities and it's failing in some of them."

Mr O'Connor says the solution is to separate the food safety authority from the ministry again and make it independent.