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An official agreement will influence facility inspection rates between the United States and New Zealand.
FDA says that New Zealand’s food safety system provides a comparable degree of food safety assurance to that of the U.S. government. An official recognition announced last week by FDA means that the two nations can focus resources and inspections on foods of potentially greater risk.
The United States and New Zealand have already observed such equivalency in their food safety systems, but only for specific food categories such as seafood and dry dairy products. The new all-encompassing partnership doesn’t necessarily imply that the United States and New Zealand will abandon oversight of each other’s exports, but FDA says “they can take this (agreement) into account as appropriate in determining the type and frequency of inspections to conduct of foreign manufacturing establishments and of imported food shipments.”
Both nations confirmed their comparability on multiple levels of food safety regulation, ranging from training of inspectors to procedures for responding to food safety issues.
FDA’s agreement with New Zealand is part of a new global strategy for food export safety outlined in FDA’s report “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality.” Pilot testing is also underway to assess food safety system comparability with Canada.