Science and innovation minister Steven Joyce and food safety minister Jo Goodhew launched the centre alongside the funding partners, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association and Zespri. The funding partners have committed NZ$2.05 million (US$1.38 million) per annum. The government plans to match this contribution to bring the total funding to NZ$4.1 million per annum.
“The centre will use the best science available to protect and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a producer of safe and trustworthy food,” Mr Joyce said. “Research will meet the needs of the industry, helping to grow exports and ensure local food and beverage businesses have consistent access to foreign markets.”
He also added that the centre plans to get other industry organisations on board in the future, in order to boost funding, while making the research conducted in the centre is commercially relevant.
Mrs Goodhew said the research centre will see scientists collaborating on work programmes that cut across different food and beverage centres. “The research that will be conducted by centre partners also aims to protect New Zealanders by minimising the risks of foodborne illness such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. It will go beyond short-term, reactive issues to look ‘over the horizon’ and pre-empt emerging food safety risks across multiple sectors.”
Research partners include hosts Massey University, along with AgResearch, Cawthron Institute, ESR, Plant and Food Research, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.