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Strong support for Food Bill

Strong support for Food Bill


Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the strong support across Parliament for progressing the Food Bill. The Primary Production Select Committee reported the Bill back to the House in early May, and the Bill has now passed its second reading in the House.

“The Food Bill has been in development for approximately ten years, and it is important that we finally pass this Bill. I asked the Committee to consider a number of changes to ensure that issues raised by the public had been addressed. The Select Committee has supported these changes and offered some important refinements,” Minister Kaye says.
“The Food Bill is comprehensive and replaces the current legislation and regulations plus at least 34 separate sets of food safety bylaws around New Zealand.

“It empowers food businesses to manage food safety themselves using tools based on the level of risk associated with the types of food they produce. At the heart of the Bill is a sliding scale where those businesses which pose the most food safety risk are the most regulated.

"This will improve New Zealand's ability to negotiate and maintain recognition from other countries that our food safety system is equivalent to overseas systems, which in turn means improved access to overseas markets for New Zealand exporters. It also means that compliance for food businesses is based on food safety risk rather than one-size-fits-all rules.

The Food Bill covers all food that’s for sale – not food people grow for themselves or share with friends. Low risk and community food related activities, such as sausage sizzles, are also able to continue under the Food Bill as long as the food is safe to eat.

It is estimated the current Act adds $40 million of unnecessary compliance costs each year on new businesses and those wanting to expand, stifling start-ups, growth and innovation.
“There will also be greater transparency of fees charged to businesses and also an addition of a ‘good Samaritan’ clause to better protect businesses that donate food in good faith. This will help support organisations that such as food banks who assist some our most vulnerable.

“The changes to this legislation will provide a flexible, risk-based food safety system that accommodates around 40,000 food premises. I look forward to the Bill progressing through its remaining stages in the House,” says Ms Kaye.

Ends

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