Select Committee on Food Standards First Report


Submitted by Wayne Morris

  I forward you a submission concerning the above.

  I make these comments both as a consumer and professional who used to express Food Hygiene regulations as a Environmental Health Officer, so my comments are valid and relevant.

  1. Food Safety begins at the point of food production—at the farm.

  Food Safety enforcement must therefore embrace the farm—animal husbandry, use of hormones, overcrowding of the food animals, vegetable growing, use of pesticides as genetically modified foodstuffs, animal feed, effect on the environment, antibiotics.

  If these fundamental issues are not addressed in food production then there can be no food safety. The prepared Food Safety Agency does not adequately address food safety at its point of production, i.e, the farm.

  Salmonella, BSE pesticide contamination, GM foods derives from the farm, not from the retail outlet.

  Food safety will not be improved unless enforcement begins at the point of production—the farm.

  I speak from great experience.

  2. I find it alarming that many personnel at the proposed Food Standards Agency will be transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture.

  This Ministry has never shown any interest in food safety or public health and is largely influenced by pharmaceutical and large supermarket chains e.g., vested interests.

  This chain of vested interest must be broken and this can begin by appointing personnel to the proposed Food Standards Agency whose terms of reference is food safety and public health—not the commercial interests of farmers the food industry and pharmaceuticals.

  There is no public confidence in a proposed Food Standards Agency staffed by Ministry of Agriculture officials.

  3. The proposed Agency must be transparent and can only be so with the advent of a Freedom of Information Act.

  A Freedom of Information Act is essential to the effective enforcement of Food Standards Agency.

  These are my submissions—as stated they are valid and speak from experience as a food safety enforcer—and consumer.

  I would be happy to attend your Committee to expand on these points and others.

  The points I have raised are extremely important to improving Food Safety and should not be ignored.

March 1999

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