Learn How New Zealand’s Food Safety Climate is Changing

Posted by Craig Thornton

Food Act 2014

2016 is a big year for compliance in New Zealand.  Not only is the health and safety legislation changing but the Food Act 2014 comes into force on the 1st March 2016.

After much delay and debate the Food Act 2014 will make its long awaited appearance. 

I remember having plenty of discussion with Food Safety Auditors about this Act 10 years ago.  There was much against the one size fits all approach of the 1981 Act was going to be repeated again.  Small businesses were frightened that a paper-work bureaucracy was going to be enforced.  However, that has not been the case and a risk management approach has been legislated.  

The first change to be aware of is the focus will be on food production and NOT on the premises where the food is made.  This is quite a quantum shift for people to get their heads around.

change

So if you are part of the chain of food production, including transporters or distributors of food products, food suppliers, packhouses, food retailers or a bakery, you must meet the requirements of the Food Act. There are numerous exemptions though. So even if you don’t think you need to meet the Act, I suggest you do your research and conclusively exclude your organisation.

The second change is the Food Act recognises each organisation is different and there is a “sliding scale” of risk for food safety. High risk organisation will have more checks than low risk food organisations. Those that are high risk will have food control plans (FCPs) and those that are lower-risk will have national programmes. Other Acts are also directly involved including the Animal Products Act 1999 and the Wine Act 2003.

There will be a transition period for existing organisations. The timetables for implementation are staggered between 2016 and 2019.

There have been other law changes too:

  1. Food recalls will be managed differently.
  2. Food importers are included
  3. Penalties and enforcement have been strengthened.

The Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) has a great website that has a tool on whether your organisation needs to meet the Act, some template FCPs, transition timetables and other law changes.

Keep an eye out for a webinar I’ll be running with details on this new Act in early March.

 

Takeaway

  1. Food Act 2014 comes into force on the 1st March 2016.
  2. The focus will be on food production and NOT on the premises where the food is made.
  3. There will is a “sliding scale” of risk for food safety.
  4. There will be a transition period with timetables for implementation staggered between 2016 and 2019.
  5. There are other changes around recall, importers and penalties.

 

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Tags: Food Safety, Food Act 2014