Wasn’t there a Food Safety Authority before this? NZ food safety for a foodie nation

I used to go there a lot, but probably won’t get invited anytime soon.

I get it that politicians have a short life-span, that things change, but New Zealand used to have the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, and then it got sucked into the Ministry of Primary Industries, and now you’re creating New Zealand Food Safety.

The printers of business cards will be pleased with the work.

Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor says the establishment of New Zealand Food Safety will help raise the profile of food safety for all New Zealanders.

It is one of four new business units created within the Ministry for Primary Industries to create a stronger focus on keys areas of work, along with Biosecurity New Zealand, Fisheries New Zealand and Forestry New Zealand.

“In the spirit of manaakitanga, our food safety system cares for the people producing and processing food, as well as those consuming it. It protects consumers at home and abroad by ensuring that food grown, harvested, imported, processed, transported, stored, exported and sold is safe to eat,” Damien O’Connor says.

“The integrity of the food safety system is particularly important to New Zealand because we are a nation of food producers and exporters, and we are trusted across the globe.

“New Zealand Food Safety brings together about 390 people from MPI’s food standard setting, verification and assurance teams into one strong and visible business unit.

New Zealand Food Safety Authority nails restaurant — no one wins when people barf

A New Zealand restaurateur whose poor food safety practices caused more than 50 Christmas Day diners to fall ill has had his appeal thrown out.

Robin Pierson, the owner-operator of Bushmere Arms, was ordered to pay $400 in fines, along with $850 in reparation to victims and $10,414 in costs to the Crown in a case brought by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

The court heard that on 25 December 2006, Pierson’s restaurant provided a Christmas Day buffet luncheon for about 110 diners, with a selection of ham, beef and turkey. The next day some of the diners called him complaining of illness after the luncheon. Fifty-seven reported varying degrees of stomach pain, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

A Health Protection Officer found the symptoms of illness described by the complainant diners were consistent with food poisoning caused by Clostridium perfringens. C. perfringens was also found in samples of the leftover turkey, and the enterotoxin form of the bacteria in faecal samples from two of the ill diners.
While C. perfringens can be found in the stools of normal people, the enterotoxin is only found in people with C. perfringens food poisoning.

NZFSA’s Assistant Director of Compliance and Investigation Justin Rowlands, said the luncheon had all the hallmarks of an outbreak in waiting.

“The turkey was inadequately thawed, cooked, and reheated. The person serving meats at the buffet also used the same knife to carve the turkey, meat and ham, raising the chance of cross contamination. Also, the restaurant did not have formal steps in place for operating safely during stressful periods.”