China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), the country's largest agricultural and food products supplier, has signed an agreement with a New Zealand government-owned food safety firm and a multinational business consultancy to improve China's food safety and quality.
COFCO signed the agreement with food safety service firm AsureQuality and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the sidelines of the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) leaders meeting in Beijing, said a statement from PwC's New Zealand office on Monday.
Drawing on leading New Zealand and international food and agricultural models, AsureQuality and PwC would support COFCO in embedding best practice in food safety and quality across the food and agriculture industries.
"The growing affluence of China's urbanized consumers and its middle classes are changing food demand dynamics and creating greater expectations not just of safety, but of quality, choice and provenance. The food bar in China is rising ever higher and increasing China's reliance on premium imported foods as its people demand the best," AsureQuality chief executive John McKay said in the statement.
PwC Global Agribusiness Leader Craig Armitage said globalization, regulatory change, resource scarcity and food fraud were some of the issues appearing in China and elsewhere.
"Suppliers are facing downward cost pressures and thus risks throughout the supply chain are increased," Armitage said in the statement.
AsureQuality claims to have 1,700 experts working in 60 locations in Australia, China and Singapore.