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Science Media Centre: ‘How safe is our food?’ – Sunday Star Times


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In the wake of Fonterra’s contamination scare, Adam Dudding takes a big picture look at food safety in New Zealand for the Sunday Star Times.

Meat QuestionmarkAn excerpt (read in full here):

How safe is our food really?

We eat food that could have been grown almost anywhere on the planet, by people we’ll never meet, under regulations we don’t always have control over.

Every now and again, something fails, and sometimes, as with Fonterra’s botulism scare, the failure is all too close to home.

No-one has been reported ill because of Fonterra’s contaminated whey, but the affair has been a reminder of the extraordinary faith modern consumers must place in a network of strangers.

At any point between field and fork, disease, contaminants or toxins can be introduced. The biggest mistake is often at the very end of the chain. After all, if that salmonella-infested chicken wing had been cooked properly before you ate it, you wouldn’t have needed that week off work.

This is about much more than avoiding a dicky tummy. Food brings in 52 per cent of New Zealand’s export income, is the basis of 40,000-odd businesses and provides employment for 18 per cent of the working population. 

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