3 March 2016
Transition period for new food regulations
The Gore District Council says it will work with businesses to ensure there is as smooth a transition as possible with the new food safety regulations that came into effect today (1 March).
Senior Regulatory Officer Frances Shepherd said about 80 premises will be affected over the three year transition period allowed for in the Food Act 2014.
She will be sending out information brochures in the next week or so.
"We appreciate this is going to be a learning curve for everyone, and will be available to work with each premise individually to help them through the process."
Mrs Shepherd said the Ministry for Primary Industries has all the information, including food control plans that can be printed, on its website www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact.
Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director-General Regulation and Assurance Scott Gallacher said the Act was designed to modernise food safety in New Zealand.
"It will make it easier for businesses to make sure their food is safe."
From today, anyone who starts a business that involves food must follow the new law. This includes anything from restaurants to corner dairies, market stalls, or internet cake sellers.
Existing businesses also need to make changes, although they have longer to do so.
"The new law applies to a wide range of businesses, and includes any which make, sell, grow or transport food commercially. This includes those who serve food as part of their business, like education providers or care homes for example.
"We’ve made it easy for businesses to see how the new law applies to them with an online tool. Businesses should visit the MPI website and use ‘Where do I fit?’
"The new law is designed to help businesses and consumers. It moves from a one-size-fits-all approach to one that regulates businesses according to risk. This will help keep regulation and costs down for many businesses, especially lower risk businesses, like those who grow fruit and vegetables or sell only pre-packed food.
"It also offers businesses greater flexibility. People can sell food they have made at home, for example, but must meet the same food safety standards as other businesses.
"By focusing on what’s most important to food safety, the law will help ensure safer food for consumers. At the same time, keeping costs down for businesses will also keep costs down for consumers.
"The new law also introduces other measures to help businesses keep time and costs down. For example, those who manage food safety well will need less frequent checks."
By making food safety requirements more efficient for businesses, the Act fits with wider government efforts to deliver better public services.