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5 April 2002
New Zealand will be putting the case for a more up-dated approach to dairy product
export assurances at an international conference setting standards for dairy assurances
being held in Wellington from 8 to 12 April.
The Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products will consider drafts of standards for
milk products as well as a model export certificate for milk products.
The committee is part of the Codex Alimentarus Commission – an international
agency set up by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health
Codex aims to protect the health of consumers and promote fair practices in the food
trade by setting international food standards for commodities such as fruit, fish, meat
and dairy production as well as guidelines for related processes. These guidelines include
food safety risk analysis, labelling, inspection and certification.
About 140 international government delegates and representatives of non-governmental
organisations will be at the conference to discuss a variety of standards for milk
The conference will be chaired by MAF Food Assurance Authority Director (Programme
Development) Steve Hathaway.
Dr Hathaway says this is a significant conference for New Zealand dairy exporters and
He says discussions over how to simplify and harmonise assurance certificates for dairy
products will be high on the agenda.
"Currently each country has its own set of assurances certificates that an
exporter must meet in order for their product to cross the border. MAF holds a library of
hundreds of customised export certificates. We believe that a single certificate template
would provide the same level of assurance but would cut out a lot of red-tape, thereby
making it simpler and easier to trade."
Dr Hathaway says that while the job of having to provide those individual assurances to
our trading partners falls on the MAF Food Assurance Authority, the real burden lies with
producers, who have to supply us with the information to back up those customised
"This is a costly, time-consuming and we believe, unnecessary burden to
He says that New Zealand also stands to gain from discussions on a minimum protein
level in the general cheese standard, if international agreement can be reached on a
realistic level, which could mean no minimum. This will help to preserve New
Zealand's access to our markets for cheese.
The Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products will be held at the Grand Ballroom,
Duxton Hotel, Wellington, April 8-12 2002. To contact delegates and speakers during the
sessions Tel. Cindy Newman, 04-473-3900 or 021-333-149. For other information contact MAF
Communications Tel. 04-498-9816.