18 Feb 2014

Focus on dairy industry traceability

6:34 pm on 18 February 2014

It's one of the 29 recommendations to come out of the ministerial inquiry into last year's botulism botch-up.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the inquiry recommended lifting the dairy sector's ability to trace products and ingredients through a working group focusing on regulatory and worldwide best practices.

He says some of the big issues have been started on including lifting New Zealand's profile and footprint in China.

"So we've announced there's going to be an extra four people based up in China. We're looking at another six people being located in other international markets.

"One of the big things we've started work on already is establishing a centre for food safety science and research and we'll be talking to industry about potentially partnering with the Government on that one."

He says increasing dairy processing and regulatory capability is also being worked on and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye is also leading some work to do with the Food Bill currently in front of a select committee.

A scientist and diplomat, Dr John Larkindale, has been appoint to chair the traceability group.

He's a former New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing and Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The group also includes representatives from dairy and infant formula companies and the food and retail sector.