New Zealand gov't establishes food safety unit

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WELLINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor said on Monday the establishment of New Zealand Food Safety will help raise the profile of food safety for all New Zealanders.

The New Zealand Food Safety, launched by O'Connor, is one of the four new business units created within the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), along with Biosecurity New Zealand, Fisheries New Zealand and Forestry New Zealand. It brings together about 390 people from MPI's food standard setting, verification and assurance teams into one business unit.

"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," O'Connor said in a statement.

"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," the minister said.

New Zealand Food Safety will make compliance easier for small, regional or rural food businesses including providing guidance to market stallholders, rolling out templates to reduce costs and allowing those operating under several food safety laws to have one plan, he said.