Massey-hosted food safety partnership awarded $1.25M

A new partnership involving nine New Zealand research organisations has been awarded $1.25 million in funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The New Zealand-China Food Protection Network (NZ-CFPN) will enhance communication between research scientists, government organisations and industries here and in China. This network will work alongside the recently announced New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, which has Massey Professor Nigel French as its establishment director.

The partners in the NZ-CFPN are from across leading universities, Crown Research Institutes and the Cawthron Institute. Over the years, they have developed ongoing research collaborations in food safety and security with 51  Chinese partners, including 13 of the top 50-ranked universities in China and other leading Chinese academies.

Project leader Professor Nigel French says these collaborations have evolved through individual organisations and scientists pairing with Chinese partners.

“The Network will create a new mechanism for knowledge generation and exchange, enabling the uptake of research into effective policies that reduce hazards in the food chain and ensure a sustainable supply of safe and nutritious food.

“It will increase consumer confidence in both countries, ensuring international best practice is being followed for food protection. The network will be highly connected, effective and durable, and will help transform the food safety and security research landscape,” says Professor French.

Professor French says the NZ-CFPN will take a New Zealand Inc approach. “It will effectively ‘rewire’ the existing network to create additional, enduring partnerships between New Zealand and leading Chinese research organisations. This will establish new relationships, facilitate knowledge exchange and create new opportunities for acquiring significant international funding in key areas of importance for food safety and security in both countries.”

The other New Zealand partners involved in the project are:               

University of Auckland

Organisation Lead: Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck

University of Otago

Organisation Lead: Professor Phil Bremer

Auckland University of Technology

Organisation Lead: Dr Brent Seale

Cawthron Institute

Organisation Lead: Dr Robert Matheson


Organisation Lead: Dr Gale Brightwell

Environmental Science & Research

Organisation Lead: Dr Rob Lake

Plant & Food Research

Organisation Lead: Mr Graham Fletcher


Organisation Lead: Ms Lou Sherman

The projects aims will be achieved through a five-year programme of scientist and postgraduate exchanges, conferences and workshops, seed funding for strategic projects and the development of a dedicated website and communication platform. The NZ-CFPN will be an inclusive network available to all research providers and industries in both countries.