WELLINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government is to set up an independent food safety advice group to recommend regulatory changes in the wake of last year's global recall of dairy products over a false botulism scare.
The Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council was one of 29 recommendations from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident released in December last year, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said Wednesday.
"At the moment there is no independent group that looks at the whole of New Zealand's food safety and assurance system and is able to provide high-level independent advice and risk analysis," Kaye said in a statement.
"This council is being set up to do this and will report to the director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries. It will provide a valuable sounding board for new ideas and contribute to raising consumer and market confidence in New Zealand's food," she said.
She also expected the six-member expert panel to identify current and future trends, risks and issues that may impact on the country's food safety and assurance system.
Dairy giant Fonterra pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court last month to four food safety-related charges connected to global recall of whey protein concentrate over the false botulism scare, which happened in August last year.
Fonterra is also fighting a civil case brought by French food giant Danone, which is claiming compensation of 350 million euros (483.59 million U.S. dollars) for the scare.