A contingent of up to 40 Chinese primary producers and
dairy industry representatives are among delegates attending
the Global Food Safety Forum in Dunedin this month.
The forum, at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery from November 13
to 15, will address the perception that New Zealand must
improve its food safety standards.
It usually meets in Beijing but food integrity consultant
Helen Darling persuaded the United States-based non-profit
organisation to hold it in New Zealand for the first time.
Dr Darling described it as a ''breakthrough conference'',
saying they would be looking at emerging threats.
''New Zealand has been caught out on a number of occasions
and the dialogue and interaction will be focused on
preventing further issues.
''The timing of the forum is crucial. It is where we can
seize the moment to rebuild out image resulting from the
damage surrounding our food safety brand,'' she said.
Dr Darling regarded the response from China as significant.
''The delegates represent the dairy and meat industry and
they want to see what we do and are interested in using our
procedures to improve food safety in China.
''This forum is where dialogue between both ends of the
supply chain can take place to improve transparency and
integrity,'' she said.
In turn, New Zealand producers must understand what the
Chinese, in particular, required of them. The 160 delegates
also included visitors from the United States, Australia and
Dr Darling will present a model to the forum that ensures the
integrity of food safety products leaving New Zealand. Other
keynote speeches will be given by Xiaoming Huang, the
director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research
Centre, Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English, and
representatives from Fonterra, NZTE, the Infant Nutrition
Council and Environmental Science and Research.