The new food safety legislation will help protect public health and sustain a strong food industry for years to come, according to Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.
The Food Act 2014, which came into effect at the beginning of March, “will help us to future-proof the safety of our food, and to make compliance more efficient for businesses,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“The key change is a move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, to one that regulates businesses according to risk. So higher risk businesses, like restaurants, will have more responsibilities than lower risk businesses, like corner dairies. This will help reduce regulation and costs for many businesses.
“High standards of food safety will always be a bottom line. The new law is designed to give businesses more flexibility in the way they achieve them.
“There are around 7000 business who have already signed up to the requirements of the new Act, which is a fantastic start and will give them a head start on the transition,” says Mrs Goodhew.
The new law has been developed over a decade, during which industry representatives from across New Zealand’s 45,000 food businesses, and local councils have worked on how it will be implemented.
The new law applies to anyone starting a new food business. Existing businesses will transition over three years, with the highest food-safety risk businesses transitioning first.
Resources to help businesses find out what they need to do are available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact