MALAYSIA faces the brunt of a global burden with rapidly rising rates of diabetes and heart disease, and New Zealand believes it can work in partnership with Malaysian food producers to help.
New Zealand’s exports are driven by its agricultural sector – it has the capacity to feed five times its population – and is widely regarded as having world-leading systems and research for food safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainable food production.
“New Zealand scientists, food producers and manufacturers as well as government officials are realising the biggest future challenge, along with feeding a planet of nine billion, is of stemming the tide of preventable disease associated with what we eat,” says Sir Peter Gluckman, New Zealand’s chief science advisor.
Gluckman is in Malaysia for New Zealand Week which carries the theme, “Food For Thought”.
Fiona Acheson (pix), New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to Malaysia, says “Developing advanced foods for the 21st century, and foods with proven health claims for various conditions is the new frontier for New Zealand food and beverage companies.
“While there are examples of New Zealand food and beverage products that are nutritional and tasty as well as being safe to eat for those with diabetes, there is room to develop more.
“One area that needs more research and development is products that cater to Malaysian and Asian tastes, and Malaysian and New Zealand companies are well placed to do this together.
“Our countries already share a history of cooperation in science and education and both countries are experienced in exporting halal food,” says Acheson.
New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, David Pine, says New Zealand Week aims to expand science cooperation between New Zealand and Malaysia as well as encouraging more Malaysian students into science.
“We chose the theme, to focus on climate change and food challenges going forward as it’s a global problem we share,” says Pine. “We will be promoting New Zealand’s foods including halalmeats, salmon, dairy products, fruit, confectionary, wine and our delicious green shell mussels.”
Malaysians can experience the huge variety of New Zealand foods at the restaurants of Trader’s Hotel from Feb 16 to March 18. There will also be NZ recipes specially created by Malaysia’s own, Chef Wan, available on the website: www.newzealand.com
Sir Peter Gluckman, is in Malaysia from Feb 13 to 14 to talk about his research on just how important the nine months a baby spends in its mother’s womb are to its well-being in later life.
“There is compelling evidence that chronic diseases such as diabetes are linked to the mother’s health while she is pregnant. “The formative and early years are crucial.”
“New Zealand also has high rates of diabetes and increasing effort is now been given to developing advanced foods and neutraceutical products that will optimise the first 1000 days of life,” says Gluckman.