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Introduction of Food Control Plans revised

Introduction of Food Control Plans revised

A change in timing in the development of the new Food Bill will see Food Control Plans introduced on a voluntary basis for some sectors of the food industry in mid-2008.

In October 2006 Government agreed that a new Food Bill should be written and development of the legislation has been underway since that time.

"Timelines for such a complex piece of legislation are always uncertain," says Carole Inkster, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's (NZFSA) Policy Director. "As the Food Bill will not be introduced to Parliament in time for a mid 2008 start we are working to find ways to implement components of the system voluntarily under current legislation. This approach has received a positive response from groups we have discussed it with. We are keen to maintain the momentum built up over the last four years."

NZFSA expects to have a range of material available in the early part of 2008 for those businesses that had been identified for introduction in the first year of transition of the new Food Act (food service and catering sectors). This would mean that business operators in these sectors will be able to register and implement a Food Control Plan (freely available to them) then apply for an exemption from the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.

The new imports programme will also be affected by the delay in the Food Bill's introduction and NZFSA intends to consult on aspects of that programme that can be delivered under current legislation in the first half of 2008.

NZFSA is continuing work on developing the new legislation that will enable a more consistent regulatory programme ensuring that food producers protect their consumers while at the same time allowing them to work in innovative and flexible ways that best meet their needs.

ENDS

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