If you make or sell food as part of your business, your deadline to register under new food safety law may be coming up.

The New Food Act came into effect on 1st March 2016. New businesses have to comply straight away, but existing food businesses are changing over to the new rules in stages. The deadline for some businesses is 31st March 2017. This includes:  

  • food service businesses, such as restaurants, cafes or caterers, with an alcohol licence
  • early childhood education centres
  • processors of nuts, seeds, or coffee beans
  • manufacturers of: food for vulnerable people (e.g. packaged food for elderly people or baby food); sauces, spreads, dips, soups, broths that need to be kept cold; and ready to eat salads.

What do you need to do?

The new Food Act aims to improve food safety, by adopting a risk-based approach. This means that there are different rules for different types of businesses, depending on what they do.

Higher risk businesses, like restaurants and cafes, will use a written plan to manage food safety, known as a food control plan. Medium and lower risk businesses will follow a set of food safety requirements, known as a ‘national programme’.

Businesses have to register and get checked by a food safety ‘verifier’. Most need to register with their local council. Those who use a custom food control plan, like the manufacturers listed above, need to register with MPI.

What should you do now?

Contact your local council about registering, or find out more on the MPI website www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact. Useful information:   

(SOURCE: Ministry for Primary Industries, Monday 19th December 2016)