New approach to managing food safety

08 March 2016
The new Food Act, which came into effect earlier this month, takes a new approach to managing food safety.

There is a new law for all businesses that sell food.

The new Food Act, which came into effect earlier this month, takes a new approach to managing food safety.

It has moved from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to one that regulates businesses according to risk, says Waikato District Council Environmental Health Team Leader Alan Parkes.

The new law applies to any businesses that make, sell, grow or transport food commercially. This includes those who serve food as part of their business, like education providers or care homes, restaurants, dairies, market stalls, or internet cake sellers.

Businesses that are higher risk, from a food safety point of view, will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower-risk food businesses.

The new law is designed to help businesses and consumers. For example, those who manage food safety well will need less frequent checks. 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.

Keeping costs down for businesses will also keep costs down for consumers. By focusing on what’s most important to food safety, it will ensure safer food for consumers.

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. 

“About 260 food businesses in the Waikato district will be affected,” says Mr Parkes. “Although the new law started on 1 March, existing food businesses don’t have to make changes to the way they operate straight away. They will move over to the new Act at different times over a three year transition period.

“In preparation for the new law, meetings have been held with interested food business owners who will be affected. More than 50 existing food service businesses have already adopted the new system.”

Anyone that starts a business that involves food must follow the new law.  

Businesses should visit www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact and use the ‘Where do I fit?’ tool to see how the new law applies to them.

For more information contact:

Sheryl Flay
Senior Communications Advisor
Waikato District Council
07 824 8633
sheryl.flay@waidc.govt.nz