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Home > Our Science > Meat & dairy foods > Food assurance

Food assurance

Adding value to New Zealand through market protection and food assurance

Bacteria viewed both through a microscope and in petrei films

 Bacteria viewed through a microscope (top) and in petrei films

Continued access of New Zealand's food industries to economicaly important export markets depends on our ability to meet the regulatory and market access requirements of that country.

Food Assurance Strategy (market access and food safety) - a holistic approach

AgResearch has an integrated research and development programme that covers the whole of the value chain continuum from rumen to retail. This holistic approach involves consideration of every stage in the chain from on-farm to food consumption. Our customers include NZFSA (MPI), Meat Industry Association (MIA), MSI as well as individual food processing companies

As caretakers of New Zealand’s Reference Lab for Meat Microbiology, AgResearch delivers the science support required to protect New Zealand’s access to export markets and demonstrate regulatory equivalance. We are responsible for the Meat Industry Microbiology Methods manual, validation and auditing current microbiological methods. In support of industry we also carry out training for microbiological sampling on meat processing plants.

Food assurance covers a wide and diverse range of topics and food matricies. Key researchers across AgResearch create a team of specialists and industry focused people that can deliver solutions for New Zealand’s primary industries.

Dr Gale Brightwell leads the Food Assurance and Meat Quality Team, her research interests include the rapid detection and identification of zoonotic organisms using molecular based technologies and understanding the microbial ecology and bacterial population dynamics within complex environments. Gale is Programme Leader for the Meat focused Value from Quality programme which looks to extend the shelf life of chilled lamb and improve the eating quality of red meat.

John Mills’ primary focus is on applied meat microbiology, working predominantly with MAF and industry partners. He also edits the NZ “Meat Industry Microbiology Manual (MIMM)” an important resource for meat industry laboratories.

Dr Rex Munday specialises in the risk assessment of food contaminants, pesticides and therapeutics, including work for commercial companies. This work involves acute and sub-acute toxicity studies, assessment of biochemical parameters indicating tissue damage and identification of histological changes.

Dr Adrian Cookson works closely with mEpiLab and staff at the Enteric Reference Lab (ESR, Porirua) investigating novel on-farm mitigation strategies for the reduction of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.


 Key information

  • AgResearch's programme covers the whole of the value chain continuum, from rumen to retail
  • We deliver the science support required to protect NZ's access to export markets and demonstrate regulatory equivalance

 Related links

Better beef & lamb
Land & environment - water quality
Ministry of Science and Innovation
Beef + Lamb NZ