incoln University food microbiology lecturer Dr Malik Hussain gives an introductory overview to participants in
the inaugural Food Safety and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point professional course earlier this month. Supplied photo.
Food safety is becoming increasingly important to New
Zealand's agricultural export sector.
To meet the needs of an increasingly dynamic and
sophisticated food industry, Lincoln University's Centre for
Food Research and Innovation is offering food-safety courses
to address complex issues stemming from the globalised nature
of food production.
The first such course (which will be repeated throughout the
year) took place on April 15 as a one-day introductory course
on food safety in general and the well-established Hazard
Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) management system
for food safety.
The next short course will take place from June 16-18 and
will cover practical considerations in food microbiology.
The courses have been established by Lincoln University food
microbiology senior lecturer Dr Malik Hussain and the
university's South Island business development manager Dr Sam
Yu in response to the shortage of adequately trained food
professionals working in the industry.
''These courses will suit a wide range of industry people:
anyone from distributors, manufacturers, government
regulators, sanitation supervisors, plant managers or packing
staff,'' Dr Hussain said.
''New Zealand has a great reputation for the quality and
safety of its food. However, we should never get complacent.
''There is a strong need for science-based `field-to-fork'
food-safety education. Ultimately, such an approach can bring
long-term benefits through savings in healthcare and for the
food industry in general, and increases our competitive
standing on the world stage.''
Dr Yu pointed to the fallout from Fonterra's false positive
test result for botulism last year to show how food-safety
scares could significantly disrupt ''business as usual''.
''These kind of issues can really put an industry or
individual business on the back foot, meaning a lot of
relationship-building effort has to go back into building
trust - it's time-consuming and expensive. We have started
these professional development courses to help ensure that
businesses never have to experience such a situation.''
''It's also worth noting that approximately 40% of New
Zealand's food production exports come from the South Island,
and around 30% of food and beverage companies are here, too.
That's another good reason why Lincoln has decided to start
running these professional courses,'' he said.
For more information, see www.lincoln.ac.nz.