NZ Food Safety sets new goal – to reduce food-borne Campylobacter by 20% by 2025

A new goal to significantly reduce foodborne Campylobacter poisoning by 20% by 2025 was announced today.

The results of a study commissioned by New Zealand Food Safety to add greater scientific rigour to efforts to reduce food-borne illnesses were released today, too.

The study, Source assigned campylobacteriosis in New Zealand, found more than 80% of human food-borne cases are likely due to the consumption of poultry meat.

New Zealand Food Safety and the poultry industry, working collaboratively to reduce Campylobacter rates, have updated their strategy and action plan to include enhanced consumer education, better hygiene through the poultry processing and food distribution chain, and improved measures at the poultry farm level.  Continue reading

Food Safety chief says hemp seed can be sold as food from today

Amendments to regulations to allow the sale of hemp seeds as food take effect today.

The Head of New Zealand Food Safety, Bryan Wilson, says there was wide support for changes to introduce hemp seed into the New Zealand food supply.

Hemp seeds are safe to eat and nutritious and they produce no psychoactive or therapeutic effects, he said.

New Zealand Food Safety and the Ministry of Health jointly consulted earlier this year on proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 to allow the sale of hemp seed as food.

Sixty-four submissions were received from industry groups, growers, businesses, and consumers, the majority of respondents strongly in favour of changes to allow hemp seed and hemp seed products to be sold as food. Submitters also requested more guidance surrounding the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006.

To support the new hemp seed industry, New Zealand Food Safety has produced two new guides – A guide to hemp seeds as food and A guide to labelling food containing hemp seeds. These provide information on what hemp seeds or hemp seed products are allowed as food, what rules need to be met and how to meet them, and what information needs to be included on the label.

Although hemp seeds can now be sold as food, hemp production continues to be regulated to ensure that illegal, high-THC cannabis is not produced.

Hemp flowers and leaves are not permitted. Growing, possession, and trade of whole seeds require a licence from the Ministry of Health.

New Zealand Food Safety will ensure the THC levels in the hemp seed food products are monitored through the normal process of ensuring food is safe and suitable to eat. These processes involve registering a business under the Food Act 2014, following a risk management programme, and adhering to all other Ministry for Primary Industry requirements applicable to the product and situation, says Mr Wilson.

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Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

Mānuka honey definition research is published in international science journal

Research undertaken and led by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to develop a scientifically robust definition for mānuka honey has just been published in a leading international scientific journal.

The paper, Using chemical and DNA marker analysis to authenticate a high-value food, mānuka honey, has been peer-reviewed and published in npj Science of Food.

Npj Science of Food is an online open access journal that publishes high-quality papers on food safety, security, production and packaging, and the influence of food on health and wellness. It is part of the Nature group, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific publishing groups.

“The work carried out by MPI to develop a scientific definition for mānuka honey is a worldwide first and very important for New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of high-quality food,” says Bryan Wilson, head of New Zealand Food Safety at MPI.

“This reputation is based on a track record of producing food that stands up to the expectations of local and overseas markets.  All mānuka honey for export has to be tested against and meet MPI’s definition.

“Publication of this research in npj Science of Food is further endorsement of the 3 years of scientific work that went into developing the definition.

New Zealand’s export markets, including consumers, could be confident the New Zealand mānuka honey they buy is authentic, Mr Wilson says.

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