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Thread: New Food Act

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    Default New Food Act

    New Food Act to be announced
    01 November 2006

    The Government is to make an announcement about a new Food Act later today.
    In a speech opening the New Zealand Food Safety Authority Conference in Auckland this morning Prime Minister Helen Clark said that last month Cabinet had approved a "major package" of recommendations from the Domestic Food Review.

    The review was undertaken by the Food Safety Authority after it was established in 2002. "A new Food Act will lead to the updating and streamlining of our food laws to accommodate rapidly shifting consumer behaviour and expectations, changing food production and distribution systems and new and emerging pathogens and other risks."

    Miss Clark said Food Safety Minister Annette King would detail the changes later today. She said the food sector had not stemmed the rise of reported foodborne illnesses.

    There were also inequities in the way the food industry was run and a lack of clarity in the roles of regulators such as the FSA, public health units and local authorities. "The proposed new approach for our food regulatory system sets out to ensure that our vital food sector can deal adequately with the significant growth expected over the next 20 years."

    Miss Clark said a key aim would be to make food operators responsible for providing safe and suitable food. "We do wish to keep compliance costs as low as consistent with getting good results."

    A five-year transfer into the new system was proposed. The FSA would develop and offer for free templates and guide materials for small food businesses such as cafes, restaurants and corner dairies.

    "We want the new regime to give the public increased confidence in the food system through a range of public sanction and compliance tools."

    These would range from positive endorsement ? food safety awards, incentive schemes, performance-based verification, to a national grading programme and publication of business' grading results, public apologies and prohibition notices.

    - NZPA
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    Default Re: New Food Act

    Hygiene law shake-up to hit cafes and restaurants
    Thursday November 2, 2006
    By David Eames

    Hygiene standards in the nation's food outlets - from restaurants to the corner dairy - are in for a shake-up, with food regulations receiving their first serious makeover in more than 30 years.

    Food Safety Authority (FSA) recommendations announced yesterday will require kitchen staff to complete regular hygiene checklists that will be checked by local authorities during inspections of premises.

    The regulations - which have Government approval - were devised after a three-year review. They will form part of a revamp of the 1974 food hygiene regulations, which are considered obsolete.

    The changes are set to be introduced in July 2008. They were designed to shift the responsibility for food hygiene to food operators, rather than inspectors and regulators, FSA executive director Andrew McKenzie said yesterday.

    Dr McKenzie described the recommendations as a paradigm shift in food-safety policing that would "put the responsibility on the guy making or selling the food to make sure it is safe".

    The recommendations were not intended to be imposed on grassroots operations such as weekend sausage sizzles, he said. Instead, such set-ups would be the focus of "education" rather than regulation.

    Food producers such as farms and freezing works are already covered by the Animal Products Act, but restaurants, cafes and other outlets covered by the Food Act will have to establish "food control plans" to manage their operations.

    Plans for most outlets covered by the act could use "off-the-peg" control plans provided free by the FSA. The plans could be registered and verified by local authorities.

    Dr McKenzie said a cost of food-control training had yet to be confirmed, but it was not likely to be any more expensive than current, required, training. "We are not talking about a food hygiene degree. It's not about making everyone go along to polytech," he said.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark said the recommendations would help lower the instances of people contracting food-related diseases. The food sector had not stemmed the rise of such illnesses, she said.

    Hospitality Association operations manager Raewyn Blakely said the association had consulted with the FSA and the recommendations were "nothing surprising or dramatic". "We support the move forward, it's just a matter of getting it right," he said.

    The association would continue to work with the FSA, though it was yet to see the "absolute detail", and would work to keep compliance costs down as the recommendations came in. The recommendations are expected to be phased in over a five-year period.

    NZ'S food industry

    * Half New Zealand's export earnings - about $18 billion - come from food products.
    * Food products contribute $31 billion (23%) of GDP.
    * About 590,000 workers are employed in the industry.
    * There are about 30,000 food businesses nationwide.

    - Additional reporting NZPA
    Mother Bear

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