A major international food safety forum has been switched to New Zealand this month in a bid to help New Zealand's food producers better understand overseas markets -- and particularly China, organizers said Monday.
A group of up to 40 Chinese primary producers and dairy representatives would be among 160 delegates at the first Global Food Safety Forum to be held in New Zealand in Dunedin from Nov. 13 to 15, said New Zealand food integrity consultant Dr Helen Darling. The meeting was first planned to be held in Beijing.
"This is a breakthrough conference and we'll be looking at emerging threats and ways to address them before they become a problem," Darling said in a statement.
"New Zealand has been caught out on a number of occasions and the dialogue and interaction will be focused on preventing further issues."
The forum, run by a United States-based not-for-profit organization, would be opened by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, who would also deliver a keynote address.
Issues such as the validation of multi-industry standards, tighter certification procedures and quality controls would be discussed throughout workshops and formal networking sessions.
"The timing of the forum is crucial. It is where we can seize the moment to rebuild our image resulting from the damage surrounding our food safety brand," said Darling.
New Zealand's food industry was hammered in August when dairy giant Fonterra triggered a global recall of products after a false alert over botulism contamination.
That followed other international concerns over New Zealand dairy products and export licensing problems that saw New Zealand food exports stuck on wharves overseas.