This week marks the launch of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Center at Massey University in Palmerston North--a city in New Zealand.

The center is a collaborative, virtual partnership between the New Zealand government, industry organizations and research institutions. The goal is to “ensure New Zealand’s food safety system remains among the best in the world.”

“The center will use the best science available to protect and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a producer of safe and trustworthy food,” says Steven Joyce, New Zealand’s minister of science and innovation. “Research will meet the needs of industry, helping to grow exports and ensure local food and beverage businesses have consistent access to foreign markets. We will look to get further industry organisations on board over time, both to boost funding and ensure the research is relevant, with broad commercial applications.”

The center has earned $2.05 million in annual funding from a number of New Zealand organizations, including the Dairy Companies Association, the Meat Industry Association and Zespri--the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit. The New Zealand government will match that contribution, bringing total funding to $4.1 million per year.

“New Zealand prides itself as a producer of safe and high quality food. Our exports are dependent on a robust and internationally credible food safety system,” says Jo Goodhew, New Zealand’s minister for food safety. The center will see our best scientists collaborating on work programmes that cut across different food and beverage sectors, placing us as a global leader in food safety science. The research that will be conducted by center partners also aims to protect New Zealanders by minimizing the risks of foodborne illness such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. It will go beyond short-term, reactive issues to look ‘over the horizon’ and preempt emerging food safety risks across multiple sectors.”

The center’s research partners include hosts Massey University, along with AgResearch, Cawthron Institute’s Plant and Food Research, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

“By working together to share and coordinate resources, we have an opportunity to not only deliver excellent food safety science and research, but also to boost our capability and international reputation in this field,” says Joyce.

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