It was an exciting and delicious week in Christchurch.
The New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre (NZFSSRC) Annual Symposium and the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST) Conference was held back-to-back in Christchurch between 1-4th July. Chemmat’s Associate Professor Meng Wai Woo attended both conferences which had a very good mix of participants from the industry and academia.
The NZFSSRC Annual Symposium had a strong emphasis on the use of whole genome sequencing technology in food safety. This technology can be used to detect and control food safety ‘outbreaks’ to provide faster response to product recall and remedial actions. There are already applications of this technology in New Zealand as reported in the symposium. One of the key highlights of the conference was a debate on managing eco-toxic food packaging which was hosted by Kim Hill and broadcasted on RadioNZ.
The NZIFST Conference was organized with a slight twist in theme “Good For 4”; with presentations classified into sessions such as Good of the Planet, Good for Food Safety, Good for Me, Good Law, Good for Science. The conference was well attended by the industry and some of the larger companies present were Sanford, Fonterra, Countdown, Kiwiharvest, NZB&L and United Fisheries. Several key topics in the conference were: plant based versus animal based protein (or its synergy), food waste management and packaging, and legislations/applications surrounding hemp as an upcoming food material. The last theme, in particular, provided a platform for discussion surrounding the recent development in NZ in allowing the sale of hemp seed as food.
Associate Professor Michael Lee from the Business School in UoA presented a keynote on “Anti-Consumption and Food”. The keynote provided a unique view on the role of marketing and consumer research in food product development. This highlighted the potential to incorporate these elements into our food research programmes.
Towards the end of the conference, Wai attended the “Creating you own food label” workshop. It was a very informative workshop focusing on interpreting the FSANZ standards on permissible ingredients in food products. The workshop also explored the use of two commercial software for food labelling, Zubi and Zigloa.