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Councils give Food Control Plans the green light

Councils give Food Control Plans the green light

Sixty-four councils (of 73 total) across New Zealand have given the green light to the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's (NZFSA) voluntary programme for managing food safety.

The off-the-peg Food Control Plan, part of the proposed Food Bill which aims to reduce the rate of foodborne illness in New Zealand, is designed to give operators of participating food safety and catering businesses a set of procedures and records to help them simply and effectively manage food safety.

Participating councils have already approved more than 150 Food Control Plans for food service and catering businesses across the country in the period to 3 December 2008 and many more are planning to join. Wellington City Council is leading the way with 30 businesses choosing to switch from the outdated 1974 Food Hygiene Regulations and proactively manage their food safety under the Food Control Plan.

Carole Inkster, NZFSA's Policy Director, said the New Zealand Food Safety Authority is encouraged by the level of commitment demonstrated by local councils and food operators to improving food safety for consumers.

"The Food Control Plan advocates good practice in food preparation, storage, display and cleaning and will help New Zealand food businesses meet their customers' expectations for safe food."

Food operators who register their Food Control Plan with their council are exempt from the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 as their Food Control Plan sets the rules for their business. Local council environmental health officers are responsible for ensuring the operator's Food Control Plan is appropriate for their business and that it is being followed properly. Burger Wisconsin Napier was the first Napier business to register a Food Control Plan with the Napier City Council.

"I've always had food safety practices in place that involved temperature recordings, cleaning programmes and staff training," says owner-operator Trevor Larrington.

"Food safety is very important to me, so implementing a Food Control Plan was the next natural step to take."

"The biggest change was just making sure I was writing everything down. I've never been one for paperwork, but with the support of our environmental health officer, the Food Control Plan is very simple and easy to use and provides an accurate account of what measures we take to make safe and suitable food for our customers."

Consumers can easily identify a business with an approved Food Control Plan by the green 'Serious about Food Safety' sticker that is displayed in their window.

A list of the participating councils and businesses is on NZFSA's website (www.nzfsa.govt.nz). Businesses wishing to adopt the off-the-peg Food Control Plan should contact their local environmental health officer for advice.

ENDS

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