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Food Bill Makes Progress

A bill which caused a storm of controversy has received general political support after a rewrite.

Nikki Kaye said the Food Bill had been in development for ten years and as country that relied on food exports needed to have robust food safety standards.\

The recent recall of some products in China had hit access to a number of markets and this had led to a rethink of some of the systems and beefing up the regulatory regime.

The current law was outdated and it would move to a risk based approach.

This bill had been subjected to much criticism, some of it unfounded and some justified, but it now represented a fair balance.

One version reported back by select committee in 2010 was sent back for further consideration and a major rewrite after a vast number of objections ranging from major players in the sector through to those running sausage sizzles objected to various parts of the bill.

Kaye put forwards amendments which cover recognition of industry programmes and voluntary food handling guidance. It also removed what was considered over regulation of fund-raising activities as well as gifting and donating food.

Further amendments were made to recall provisions, following the findings of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident.

Labour’s Damien O’Connor said it had taken some time, but the bill now represented real progress.

O’Connor said he would be introducing an SOP to bring in Country of Origin Labelling.

The bill passed its second reading on a voice vote.

MPs began the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Bill and will later debate the committee stages of the Credit Contracts and Financial Services Law Reform Bill and Veterans' Support Bill.

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