The Act recognises that each business is unique and outlines different requirements for businesses based on the food they produce and the associated level of risk.
For example, the Act introduces a sliding scale where businesses that have a high food safety risk will operate under more stringent food safety requirements (Food Control Plans) and businesses that have a lower food safety risk will operate under less stringent requirements (National Programmes).
The Act also provides an exemption to allow Kiwi charity fundraisers, such as sausage sizzles or home baking sales, to take place. Food handler guidance will be provided for these operations.
Regulations under the Act provide for individual operators to influence their own compliance costs. Those businesses that are performing well will be rewarded with less frequent checks, while businesses not managing food safety well will receive extra attention.
Food Control Plans
The Food Control Plan (FCP) is a risk-based measure that helps food operators effectively and systematically meet their food safety obligations. It concentrates on what people need to do to keep food safe. Depending on the type of food business, it identifies potential food safety risks at each point from receiving and storing goods to preparing, cooking and serving food. Step-by-step information and checklist style tools show staff how to manage those risks to protect customers.
FCPs are a documented system. Businesses operating under this system are not inspected but are subject to periodic checks by an Environmental Health Officer to ensure that the operator is conforming to their documented food control plan, or actually doing what they have said they will do, and that the law is being complied with.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) offer approved template FCPs for common food business operations. Where a food business operation falls outside the scope of a template Food Control Plan the business owner must develop a custom made food control plan that must be approved and registered by MPI. These are verified by third party verifiers, not Council.
Find out more information about Food Control Plans.
A National Programme is a lower risk based measure where businesses will have to follow requirements for producing safe food set out in regulations. The business must be registered with council and will be subject to periodic checks (verification). These are verified by MPI approved verifiers. At this stage Council is not recognised to verify National Programmes.
Find our more about National Programmes.
From 1 March 2016 anyone who starts a food business must follow the requirements of the Food Act 2014. Existing businesses will transition to the new rules between 2016 and 2019 after which all food businesses will be operating under the new Act.
By the end of June 2017 all businesses within the food service and catering sectors with an alcohol on-licence (restaurants, takeaways, cafes/lunch bars, and catering businesses), will need to operate with a registered template FCP. These businesses need to apply for registration by 31 March 2017.