Ensuring food safety and compliance at Massey University’s Food Pilot


Where else in New Zealand can you work on an R&D project, alongside students learning about food technology and process engineering, and companies producing foods for export? Massey University’s Food Pilot can do just that but not without a robust risk management programme (RMP) that ensures the safety, compliance, and integrity of the entire production process.

Designed for animal products and materials destined for human or animal consumption, Massey’s unique RMP goes beyond the norm. The RMP comprehensively covers animal and non-animal products, ensuring a thorough approach to food safety, verified regularly, and approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The food industry is diverse and ever evolving. FoodPilot manufactures products for technical evaluation, R&D, shelf-life trials, sensory tasting, process/equipment development, commercial scale up, student projects, and educational manufacturing. So, our working practices mitigate potential hazards but also foster innovation, with continued advancement of safe and sustainable food practices. This enables the production of foods (animal, plant and nutraceutical) for diverse purposes at virtually any time.

By maintaining regulatory standards and implementing preventive measures, the Massey RMP minimises the risk of contamination, ensures product quality, and safeguards consumer health. As a food manufacturing facility, we must comply with rigorous legislations from biosecurity through to health and safety to ensure the safety of anyone who works with us (e.g. Animal Products Act 1999, Food Act 2014, Biosecurity Act 2015, ACVM Act 1997, HSNO Act 1996, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, etc).

Every project undergoes an initial risk assessment. We consider various factors; equipment, processes and ingredients. To ensure a tailored systematic risk approach for projects, including those intended for export and consumption. FoodPilot can then facilitate effective solutions for challenges, meeting statutory requirements, especially with novel foods, ingredients, or equipment modifications, and empowering customers to achieve their goals.

Rana Naser is the Food Pilot Manager – a collaboration between Massey University, the Riddet Institute and AgResearch at Massey’s Manawatū campus. She provides guidance in food research and innovation, without compromising compliance. Rana maintains one of the nation’s most intricate risk management programmes.