Law makers asked not to "reinvent the wheel"
Source: Horticulture NZ
Law makers were asked not to "reinvent the wheel" when Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman, and senior
business managers Richard Palmer and Matthew Dolan, appeared before the Primary Production Select Committee at
Speaking to a submission
from Horticulture New Zealand and 12 grower groups on the Food Safety Law Reform Bill, Mr Chapman urged the select
committee to balance food safety with the importance of keeping compliance costs in check by recognising existing
certification systems in horticulture.
The Bill amends the Food Act, Animal Products Act and the Wine Act. It paves the way for the Government to introduce
requirements for traceability and recall procedures.
"Horticulture is already supported by Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) programmes
that provide audited quality systems which incorporate traceability," Mr Chapman says.
"While we appreciate the new rules are being developed in the wake of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein
Concentrate Contamination Incident in the dairy industry, we are saying we already have traceability systems in place,
and please take them into account rather than reinventing the wheel and adding a double cost to our growers.
"We have submitted that the adoption under section 40 of the Food Act of the GAP /GMP programmes is a sure and expedient
way for the objectives of the Bill to be achieved.
"The traceability systems of individual businesses make up a connected traceability system that operates across the
horticulture industry. This network has been built over many years and continues to improve."
Mr Chapman says other aspects of the Bill horticulture seeks consideration on are around the proposal to establish
regulations and notices to change the frequency and intensity of auditing; to charge business for these audits; and for
the regulator to have greater powers to obtain information, which could result in businesses breaching contractual
obligations or agreements.
"We disagree with those proposed changes. As outlined, horticulture already has a robust audit process which includes
traceability and recall testing, so any additional regulatory burden would add cost, for no real gain. And while we
support the ability for the regulator to obtain information to investigate a food safety issue, we submit, that
information that is obtained for this purpose should be protected by financial penalties and indemnities."
About Horticulture New Zealand
Horticulture New Zealand, along with its affiliated organisations, represents the interests of New Zealand’s 5,500
commercial fruit and vegetable growers. Based in Wellington, it works in key areas of advocacy which affect all growers
including biosecurity, food safety, seasonal labour, education and training needs of the industry, and resource
management issues around New Zealand.
The New Zealand horticulture industry is valued at more than $5.5 billion, with $3 billion in exports. The horticulture
industry’s goal is to reach a value of $10 billion by 2020. It is New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry.