All local businesses that sell food will be affected by the Food Act 2014 which came into force on Tuesday (1 March 2016).
The Act was designed to modernise food safety in New Zealand and make it easier for businesses to ensure their food was safe, said Scott Gallacher of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
“From today, anyone who starts a business that involves food must follow the new Act,” he said. “This includes anything from restaurants to corner dairies, market stalls, internet cake sellers, education providers, or care homes. Existing businesses also need to make changes, although they have longer to do so.”
Invercargill City Council Environmental Health Team Leader Muriel Rusike said the legislation was designed to ensure that food the businesses prepared and sold was safe and suitable to eat. “The Act requires that all businesses register a Food Control Plan or under a national programme, depending on the type of business they operate.”
Mr Gallacher, who is the Ministry’s Director-General Regulation and Assurance, said it was easy for businesses to see how the new Act applied to them by visiting the Ministry’s website – www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact – and using the “Where do I fit?” tool.
“By focusing on what’s most important to food safety, the Act will help to ensure safer food for consumers. At the same time, keeping costs down for businesses will also keep costs down for consumers. The Act 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.
“Existing food businesses don’t have to make changes straight away,” he said. “They will move over to the Act at different times over a three-year transition period. By making food safety requirements more efficient for businesses, the Act fits with wider government efforts to deliver better public services.”
For further information on the legislation and requirements for your business, contact Council’s Environmental Health Team on (03) 211 1777.