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Food businesses asked to ‘have their say’

Food businesses asked to ‘have their say’ in new food safety rules

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is calling for input from food businesses and providers into new food safety rules.

A consultation on Notices under the new Food Act 2014 has been released today. Notices give further detail about how the new Act will work on a practical level, says MPI’s Manager Food and Beverage Sally Johnston.

“The new Food Act 2014 comes into force in March next year and we consulted on the regulations earlier this year. This consultation is another chance for food businesses and providers to have their say in how the law works in practice.”

The proposed Notices apply to a wide range of food businesses that need to operate under a food control plan or national programme. This includes those serving food, such as restaurants and cafés, as well as those manufacturing, selling or importing food.

The new Act recognises that different food activities involve different risks. Higher risk activities, such as preparing meals, will operate under a written food control plan, which identifies food safety risks and sets out steps to mitigate those risks. Lower risk activities, such as selling pre-packaged food, will operate under a national programme. They won’t need a written plan, but will need to follow requirements for producing safe and suitable food.

While the Act itself forms the basis of the new law, what businesses must do to comply with the new Act are set out in Regulations and Notices. This consultation asks for feedback on practical areas of implementation, including templates for creating food control plans, requirements for ensuring food is safe and suitable, requirements for importers, and skills needed to evaluate and verify high risk processes, such as low acid canned food.

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“We encourage all those who will operate under the Food Act 2014, including food providers and those who work with them, to help inform every stage of its development.

“Your feedback will help us assess whether we need to amend our proposals to better meet your needs, while still ensuring that our food safety system is robust and effective.”

Deadline for submissions is 5PM, 6 November 2015. To find out more, visit http://mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/proposals-for-notices-under-the-food-act-2014/

The new Act comes into force on 1 March 2016. Existing businesses will be given a three-year transition period to move to the new rules. People can find out which rules will apply to their business, and when they will need to transition, on the MPI website.

ENDS

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