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Tonga needs food safety verifiers Featured

New Zealand High Commission Team Administrator (Development) with Pelenitina Vao New Zealand High Commission Team Administrator (Development) with Pelenitina Vao

9 February, 2018. A food and health standards training course in New Zealand has highlighted the absence of food safety verifiers in Tonga.

Technical officer in the food division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests, Pelenitina Vao was awarded a training scholarship, which involved attending a two week course in Christchurch.

The scholarship scheme allows employed individuals to gain knowledge and skills that will contribute to the social and economic development of Tonga.

The programme included insight into food safety, hygiene protocols, food inspection, auditing and legislation.

Those lessons are for the purpose of exporting produce and safe food handling standards that complies with the Food Act 2014.

Ms Vao said the course made her realise the duties of a verifier, which Tonga does not have and how it is different to an inspector.

She said the course has allowed her the opportunity to become a qualified verifier.

"A verifier does not exist in Tonga, but having learned what a verifier does, it's very important to have one in Tonga. A verifier is needed to audit and identify risks in the past.

Verifiers can check records example temperature, reheating, cooling whereas inspector look at the actual physical structure," she said.

-RNZI

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