Forum Aims to Set Global Milk Product Standards

NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has hosted a meeting of dairy-producing nations to develop international standards.
calendar icon 5 February 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

NZFSA held the meeting of 60 dairy producing nations in Auckland this week to develop international standards to keep milk products flowing, a subject close to New Zealand’s heart as exporter of a third of the world's dairy trade.

The meeting is the ninth session of the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products.

Codex is the international food standards-setting agency which develops durable and globally accepted food standards that protect consumer health and promote fair trade.

Chair of the meeting Dr Steve Hathaway, director of NZFSA's Science group, says Codex food standards are vitally important to consumer safety and New Zealand’s economy.

He said: "New Zealand has one of the best natural milk production systems in the world and our dairy exports represent more than a third of world trade in dairy products. We work hard to protect this position and it underpins our special interest in the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products."

New Zealand will be advocating flexible, non-prescriptive international dairy standards that are founded on good science and support technological developments.

Since the committee was established in 1993, the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products has created or updated more than 40 international standards covering various cheeses, milk powders, creams, fermented milks, casein and other products containing dairy and non dairy ingredients.

Dr Hathaway says recent changes to the international fermented milk standard are an example of the importance of internationally-agreed standards to New Zealand.

He added: "Using scientific data, New Zealand was instrumental in convincing the committee to expand the list of ingredients used to make fermented milk products to include dried milk powder, even though fermented milk products are traditionally made from fresh milk.

"Milk powder is one of our dairy industry’s biggest export earners and the inclusion of dried milk powder has significantly enhanced our ability to maintain market access for this product, for example, countries like Taiwan."

Over the three days of the meeting, delegates continued the task of developing international food trade standards for dairy products, and debated the need for a global standard for processed cheese.

Dr Hathaway is confident the negotiations and agreements reached at the meeting will be of significant benefit to global consumers in assuring food safety. He hopes it will also help facilitate trade for New Zealand's dairy exporters.

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