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14 February 2002
Modern approaches to ensuring meat and poultry hygiene will be the focus of a big
international conference on food standards and safety being held in Wellington next week.
About 140 international government delegates and industry representatives will be at
the conference to discuss the latest thinking on risk management in the production of
The meeting is the first of the Codex Committee on Meat and Poultry Hygiene to be held
since 1993 and will be chaired by MAF Food Assurance Authority's Group Director, Dr Andrew
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 Organisation (WHO).
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.
Andrew McKenzie says that this is a significant conference aimed at reviewing the
existing codes of practice for meat processing.
"New Zealand has been one of the countries leading the way towards a more flexible
outcome focussed meat hygiene system rather than the more prescriptive process-driven
approach favoured previously."
"While the new Animal Products Act approach is internationally-recognised, this
conference will provide an opportunity to further discuss benefits and opportunities of
the risk based approach in conjunction with Codex as well as to listen to comments from
other countries about their philosophies in relation to meat hygiene."
"Benefits from the adoption of Codex principles include simplifying export trade
by doing away with replication of compliance processes for countries engaged in
international trade," Dr McKenzie said.
In April, New Zealand will be hosting another Codex committee meeting - the Codex
Committee on Milk and Milk Products.
That meeting will focus on standards for different dairy products such as creams and
fermented milk products. There will be a review of individual cheese standards for
The Codex Committee on Meat and Poultry Hygiene will be held at the Grand
Ballroom, Duxton Hotel, Wellington, February 18-22. 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 498-9816