The quality of beef, pork and their products, including the level of their contamination with pathogens has a significant impact on the health of consumers. In order to eliminate the risks associated with the consumption of potentially hazardous food, the European Union has introduced the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). This system plays a key role in ensuring the free movement of safe and healthy food in Europe.
Ensuring food safety requires taking action in a coordinated and integrated manner and is of interest to the government authorities, the general public, non-governmental organisations and trade organisations.
The strategy of food safety in the European Union includes inter alia the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). It is a network for the exchange of information on risks of foodstuffs and feed and products intended to come into contact with food between EU Member States. This means that the process of risk analysis of EU beef, pork and their products is much more complex than the analysis of the quality of meat alone. It includes also the entire environment in which farming, slaughter, processing and trade takes place. The information obtained from the RASFF system enables the early prevention of hazards and immediate remedial action, which is an important part of the strategy of food safety.
EU beef, pork and their products are not anonymous.
The threats associated with the consumption of potentially hazardous food include not only microbiological risk, but also the presence of pesticide residues, medicines and other contaminants present in food. It is worth stressing that these threats increase with the increase of turnover in international trade as an anonymous manufacturer produces a product for an anonymous consumer.
In the countries in the Community beef, pork and their products are not anonymous. Since 1978 there has been the Community information exchange system and later Council Directive 92/59/EEC on general safety of products contained an article about the rapid alert system. In turn, the RASFF system itself has been established by Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) No. 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and laying down procedures in matters of food safety. It includes the EU Member States, the countries of the European
Economic Area (EEA), the European Commission and the EFSA. The principle of operation of the system is very simple – Member States create a point of contact that collects all information concerning the direct or indirect risk from food or feed and then transmits the data to the European Commission which, after confirming the validity of the declaration of a risk factor, immediately informs the other members of the network. In the European Union, the RASFF as part of the process of risk analysis allows the Member States to act significantly faster and in a more coordinated way in response to identified risks to human health from food or feed.
To the RASFF system database there is both access for entitled entities (via the CIRCA portal), as well as public access through a website (http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/rapidalert/rasff_ portal_database_en.htm), while respecting the appropriate rules of entitlement and confidentiality.
The RASFF system is now an important element of sanitary and epidemiological surveillance and the policy for public health protection. This system allows taking immediate action in relation to the threat, enables quick elimination of products dangerous to health and provides a consistent level of food safety throughout the territory of the European Union. The data from the RASFF constitute the basis for making changes in the food legislation of the European Union and the guarantee of safety of EU beef, pork and their products.
Some of New Zealand’s largest businesses are lagging behind their international counterparts in their levels of corporate social responsibility (CSR) according to new data.
The research which measured CSR performance across more than 17,000 businesses globally found New Zealand companies ranked just 33 out of 36 countries across the CSR criteria of community, employees, governance and environment.
New Zealand general manager of GSK Anna Stove says Kiwi companies are potentially missing opportunities from a growing, ethically conscious market, and at the same time have an obligation to support social causes beyond their immediate interest in short-term profits.
“Increasingly, CSR information is used by customers, suppliers, employees and investors to make socially responsible decisions about who to buy from, transact with, work with and invest in.
“It is becoming essential for businesses to extend the traditional measurement of their financial outcomes to include a degree of their social impact as an indicator of performance – in other words, create a double bottom line,” she says.
Stove says organisations can’t commit to sustainable social investment unless they are profitable.
“While business scale helps provide the resources required for major ethical initiatives, it is the development of an organisational mindset that is the real prerequisite we need to effect change,” she says.
Stove says CSR has now evolved to become a key consideration for prospective employees and this trend is being driven by a demographic shift in the employment market.
“Millennials are expected to make up half of the global workforce by 2020 – and this generation more than others, is seeking a social conscience in the companies they work for.
“Ten years ago, a job candidate would talk about their interest in the products the business sells during an interview, while today the focus is on a company’s work in the community – this marks a major shift in one of the primary drivers of employment decisions,” she says.
Stove says that more research is needed to determine why New Zealand ranked below other markets in the latest study.
“While there could be a number of methodological reasons why NZ companies performed at this level that are difficult to identify, the results are a timely reminder for our organisations to assess their investment in CSR.
“If our corporate efforts don’t support our approach to marketing New Zealand’s identity, we will start to see an erosion of our nation’s brand equity. That’s something that will affect our tourism market but also other key parts of our economy like the agricultural sector which seek a premium for our food products,” she says.
She says it’s important to ensure that when an organisation develops their double bottom line strategy that the chosen causes align with the company’s values.
“Locally we are investing in the health and wellbeing of Kiwi children is important to us, which is why we invest in children’s charities, including suicide prevention which has seen us fund Youthline’s support line for two decades, as well as KidsCan and Save the Children working to address child poverty,
Stove says GSK’s global partnership with Save the Children combines scientific expertise and resource with the charity’s on-the-ground knowledge and the organisations aim to save the lives of 1 million children in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“Choosing the right charities to align with is a critical part of getting buy-in from your team and stakeholders. The first step is to conduct due diligence on the organisation, then look at making a long term social investment.
“The aim should be to develop a true partnership which is sustainable as charities may struggle if a supporting partner providing a significant annual donation drops out,” she says.
Stove believes at the same time, contributions must go beyond the financial.
“For employees to feel connected to the company’s social efforts it’s important for them to have direct contact with the charity which can be achieved by giving staff time off to support the organisation,
“Developing a connection with socially positive projects helps employees come to work with a sense of purpose,” she says.
A West Auckland couple bet 200 competitors to win a World trip for two as part of a 4km treasure hunt competition in the central city on Saturday.
More than 200 determined treasure hunters armed with passports and clues completed the hunt around central Auckland, the brisk winter weather no deterrent for those seeking the grand prize, return flights for two anywhere in the world.
Te Atatu South residents Avantika Gupta and her husband Sherwin Tian says they employed a particular strategy to ensure that they had the very best chance of winning.
“We saw the display of boxes and thought they looked a bit unusual so I stood close to those and I told Sherwin to go and stand in the middle of the event space in the crowd just in case I was wrong.”
Gupta says the last clue in the treasure hunt outlined how the winery had been built brick by brick and she knew then she was in the right place and begun pulling apart the branded boxes.
“I only had to go through two boxes and I didn’t realise for a few moments that I had won the prize… I thought ‘oh my gosh’ this can’t be happening.”
The recently married pair now plan to travel to Africa, the Galapagos Islands or Iceland with their winning tickets.
It’s unreal we never win anything, we just came for a good time and wine tasting so it was unexpected,” says Tian.
Auckland winery Villa Maria created the ‘Open Another World’ treasure hunt as a way to encourage Kiwis to try something new, while at the same time bringing the story of the iconic label to life.
The event began at Queens Wharf, the contestants we’re then instructed to follow clues provided at each location, which led them through four popular Auckland bars.
At each venue, contestants were given a selection of Villa Maria wines with matching food choices, along with another clue which ultimately led Gupta to the grand prize – two return tickets to a destination of her choice to experience another world, with a airline ticket from Air New Zealand valued at $6,000.
From Degree Bar, which has been a popular spot for America’s Cup fans keen to watch the competition from the city’s waterfront, next stop was the ever-popular eatery Soul Bar, named once again this month as one of New Zealand’s Top 100 Restaurants in Cuisine magazine’s Good Food Guide. Contestants were then directed to Pilkingtons, an orangery based in the heart of the city, before finishing back by the water at the Hilton, then onto the VIlla Maria container bar for their final clue.
Villa Maria founder and owner Sir George Fistonich was delighted with the response to the winery’s ‘Open Another World’ concept.
“As a proudly New Zealand family-owned winery, we got to where we are by pushing boundaries and defying convention, particularly when we moved to 100% screwcap. We want to encourage New Zealanders to do the same,” he says.
“So often we stick to what we know, but doing so means we don’t experience that feeling of being challenged or transported somewhere new. The Villa Maria Open Another World Treasure Hunt has been an opportunity for Kiwis to learn more about our story whilst opening their world up to new wine varietals they may never have experienced before.”
A local charity which received more than $100,000 in a lump sum donation is encouraging other charitable organisations to get behind an initiative which could see them secure a share of a million dollar fund.
CEO of the Well Foundation Andrew Young says his organisation received $116,010 to put towards a third Mobile Health Clinic for the West Auckland area, after receiving thousands of public votes.
The Well Foundation is the Waitemata District Health Board’s (DHB) official fundraising body and the new clinic-on-wheels will bring dental services to children in the West Auckland, North Shore and Rodney areas.
“This new purpose-built, state of the art Mobile Dental Health Clinic will give nurses the ability to treat patients on the spot and provide a solution to major oral health problems facing so many vulnerable children,” says Young.
“Recently, four children who had missed 22 appointments between them were brought to our attention. None of the children had been seen by a dental team and the youngest, aged eight, had his first dental experience under general anaesthetic, having to have eight of his teeth extracted due to various levels of decay,” he says.
Young says the Mobile Health Clinic will see families like this, benefit from earlier intervention on-site at their pre-school or school, where treatment will be provided to reduce further health issues.
The Well Foundation secured the money, along with 30 other charitable organisations, as part of the West Auckland Trusts’ Million Dollar Mission.
CEO of the Trusts Simon Wickham says in addition to helping them complete projects, participating in the funding process has raised the profile of the 30 charities.
“What makes this funding initiative different is the way it brings the community into the decision making process – they decide how the money is allocated.
Wickham says the schools and groups have said that asking those struggling with ‘charity fatigue’ for votes instead of cash was a welcome relief from the burden of traditional fundraising.
“We are immensely proud to support the valuable work these groups do in the community – often without a voice or chance to tell their story.
“The increased public awareness that the public voting process brings to each organisation will make it easier for them to secure funding in the future,” says Wickham.
Young agrees saying without The Trusts support it would have been difficult to fund the third Mobile Health Clinic which was desperately needed in the area.
Outside of the dental clinic the Mobile Health Clinics provide services to many vulnerable families in the community.
“For example we recently took up an invitation to the Pacific Youth Rugby League Cup Tournament to provide health promotion for Rheumatic Fever awareness, immunisations, vision hearing testing and general child health matters.”
A second clinic is on its way and will be on the road later this year which will be used exclusively for throat swabbing as a part of the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme and will visit local schools and areas in the community where vulnerable people are in need of healthcare, like the Western Village Caravan Park in Ranui.
Young says other charities and groups in need of funding should begin to prepare their applications in time for October when The Trusts will call for nominees for the allocation of another $1 million next year.
Applications will open this year on 2 October and close 1 December. The public voting stage will start on 1 March 2018.
For more information visit https://www.milliondollarmission.co.nz
The average time taken to repair a vehicle in New Zealand could be reduced by a third if insurers reduce unnecessary red tape according to a new industry survey.
New research released by the Collision Repair Association (CRA), an industry body covering hundreds of panel beaters from around NZ, shows the average time taken to repair a vehicle is around six days – of which more than two days is lost in administration between the insurer and vehicle repairer.
CRA general manager Neil Pritchard says the level of red tape required for each repair is unnecessarily high and means the customer is without their vehicle for longer than they should be.
“Under the current model, the typical repair process requires the insurer to accept a claim for repairs, assess the vehicle, then authorise the panel beater to quote on the repairs. Once the estimate is accepted the panel beater can begin repairs.
“The issue is there is no industry standard covering the documentation required for an insurance claim and some insurers are regularly making requests for additional information after the estimate has been submitted by the repairer.
“The time taken up with completing this extra paperwork can be as long as the repair itself; for the customer this means their car is off the road for up to twice as long as it needs to be,” he says.
Pritchard says some of the country’s largest insurers have the longest administration time with IAG, NZI, State and AMI group considered by respondents the most bureaucratic.
He says these insurers required documentation after the claim was submitted, making more additional requests for digital images and copies of invoices than companies such as Medical Assurance, FMG and Allianz who were ranked as having the least red tape.
Pritchard says the current industry model for vehicle insurance which is used in NZ is not helping to speed up the repair.
“In the US, insurers are required to provide a suitable replacement vehicle while their customer’s vehicle is off the road – the daily cost of running the vehicle provides an incentive for the insurer to expedite the process.
“In NZ it is usually the panel beater who provides a courtesy car,” he says.
Pritchard says many policies have a clause which provides for customers to rent a new vehicle while their car is off the road but this is not commonly exercised.
Pritchard says the organisation’s research shows Vero/AMP, YOUI and Zurich were rated as the slowest to assess, process and authorise claims with Medical Assurance, FMG and AA/SIS the fastest.
The CRA survey also asked panel beaters which insurers they would be most like to recommend to friends and family.
NZ owned cooperative Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) was the most likely to be recommended.