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Government must explain food review plans

Dr Paul Hutchison
National Party Food Safety Spokesman

2 November 2006


Government must explain food review plans

The Labour Government must demonstrate how its food review plans will achieve greater safety as well as minimise compliance costs for the food industry, says National’s Food Safety spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of food-transmitted diseases, such as campylobacter, in the Western world. Any new system must have stringent checks and balances in place to ensure we take positive steps towards lowering the rate,” says Dr Hutchison.

“The proposed system will replace an inspection-based regimen with a risk-based approach, which means that ‘instead of the responsibility for food safety being placed on inspectors to find any problem, responsibility is moved to the person in charge of the food operation’.

“But the Government has not detailed how it is going to enforce its new scheme.

“There remains a concern that some food operators may act in a maverick fashion when there are no inspectors present or if sanctions are uneven or lax.

“Local authorities, restaurants, operators of bed and breakfasts, and fundraisers sizzling sausages are all concerned about undue compliance costs being imposed.

“The Government says it is developing a performance and monitoring system. It is fundamental that this be transparent to ensure the scheme improves the situation.

“This plan appears very light on detail. It is vital for both the consumer and the multimillion-dollar food industry that more details are forthcoming,” says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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