The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“This information should have been released as soon as ESR had carried out the initial investigation.
“When it comes to food safety, MPI surely knows it is always better to be safe rather than sorry, yet it has been anything but helpful to consumers since the outbreak was confirmed last month, leaving it up to a concerned medical specialist to warn the public about potential sources.
“The Ministry has dragged the chain on this investigation and possibly put consumers at risk by not releasing the information from ESR when it first received it.
“Given the investigation is ongoing, it is now up to MPI to relay any further material it receives from ESR to consumers so they can make informed decisions about their food purchasing choices.
“The public should also be told exactly how long MPI expects it will take to come up with some definitive answers about the source of the bug.
“MPI’s handling of this reinforces concerns about resourcing at the Ministry and adds fuel to Labour’s repeated calls for an independent food safety agency,” Damien O’Connor said.