New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre

The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre promotes, coordinates and delivers food safety science and research for New Zealand.

The centre's purpose 

The centre was launched in May 2016 in response to a recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident.

It was set up as a partnership between government, industry organisations and research institutions.

The centre is a virtual centre that will see the best scientists around the country collaborating on work programmes that cut across different food and beverage sectors.


The centre's research aims to protect New Zealanders from food safety-related health threats, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and other foodborne diseases.

Research will also meet the needs of industry, helping to grow exports and ensure local food and beverage businesses have access to foreign markets through meeting internationally recognised food safety standards.

The research conducted aims to protect and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a trusted producer of safe food.

Research partners

As well as the centre's host Massey University, research partners are:

  • AgResearch
  • Cawthron Institute
  • ESR
  • Plant and Food Research
  • the University of Auckland
  • the University of Otago.

Research focus

The centre’s research focuses on:

  • food safety hazards, for example biological, chemical, physical and radiological
  • hazards associated with substances added to food
  • risk assessment, risk management and risk communication of public good food safety issues
  • linkages with relevant science and research providers, and programmes in New Zealand and internationally.


Industry funders the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association and Zespri have committed $2.05 million so far.

The Government, through our Ministry and the Ministry for Primary Industries, is matching this contribution, bringing total funding to $4.1 million per annum. It is expected that funding for the centre will grow over time.

International linkages

A significant function of the centre will be to join up existing food safety science and research to make the best use of New Zealand and international resources. The centre will also link to and collaborate with the international science community and related international research platforms.

Previous updates

Workshop held

In May 2014 a workshop was held with the 7 successful research organisations selected from an expression of interest process – AgResearch, Cawthron Institute, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), Massey University, Plant and Food Research, the University of Auckland, and the University of Otago – along with about 30 other individuals from research providers, industry and government.

The aim of the workshop was to define how best to establish an exceptional food safety science and research centre to ensure New Zealand remains a leader internationally in the food safety field.

Request for proposals released

In July 2014 we released a request for proposals (RFP) for the hosting of the centre to the 7 research organisations who participated in the workshop.

Relevant documents:

Centre host announced

In October 2014 the Science Board selected Massey University as the centre host, following the RFP process.

Massey University submitted its proposal to host the centre with support from research providers AgResearch, Cawthron Institute, ESR, Plant and Food Research, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

Read the Ministers’ press release(external link).