The Food Bill -The Facts MAF
- The Food Bill sets out a flexible, risk-based approach to the production of safe food which will be simpler and less costly for many businesses.
- It only covers food that is sold or traded on a commercial basis.
- Food given away or shared with anyone, including food grown at home, is not covered by the Bill.
- Trading of seeds for planting will not be covered by the Bill.
- The Bill sets out three different ways of managing the risks to safe food – guidance, flexible National Programmes, and Food Control Plans (see box on page 2 for details).
- The Bill modernises the current (1981) Food Act, which is inflexible and takes a one-size-fits-all approach. The Bill has been designed to support innovation and flexibility in the food sector, while balancing the need to protect the public with food safety standards.
- Many Kiwi traditions such as sausage sizzles and market cake stalls are illegal under current law because the food isn’t made or cooked in a commercial kitchen and so doesn’t meet the Food Hygiene Regulations.
- The Food Bill makes these traditions legal. There will be free guidance to ensure the food sold is made safely.
- The Food Bill sets the framework of the new law and a lot of the detail will be in regulations. Regulations will be written and go out for public consultation once the Bill is passed by Parliament.
So what will the Food Bill mean for me?
If you sell food for charity –
• You can sell cakes, jams or other foods for charity up to 20 times a year. Free food safety guidance will be available.
If you sell fruit and vegetables –
- If you sell your own fruit and vegetables directly to the consumer e.g. at roadside stalls or farmers’ markets, all you have to do is continue to sell safe food. Free food safety guidance will be available.
- If you sell your own fruit and vegetables to another outlet, such as a supermarket, store or someone else’s stall at a farmers’ market, you will come under National Programme Level 1 (see box).
If you sell jams, pickles or breads –
• If you are a business selling jams, pickles, and breads you will come under National Programme Level 2 (see box).
If you sell meat or cheese –
- If you are a business producing higher risk foods like meat or cheese you will operate under a Food Control Plan (see box).
- Many businesses selling higher risk foods already have plans in place under the current law.
- If you are making and selling food on a small scale you can apply to MAF for an exemption from Food Control Plans or National Programmes. This could include selling jam at the gate, at farmers’ markets or occasionally selling your produce to restaurants or stores.
- If given an exemption you would operate under Food Handler Guidance (see box).
Food imports –
• If you import food you will need to register your business details with MAF.
*Indicative only, subject to public consultation.
If you would like more information on the Food Bill, please go to www.foodsafety.govt.nz
FOOD CONTROL PLAN
This will apply to the likes of restaurants, manufacturers of high risk foods like baby food and dairy products. It will require:
- a written and evaluated Food Control Plan (MAF will supply free templates for some food sectors);
- annual registration (at an expected cost of around $100– $150*);
- covering the cost of an annual check (verification) to make sure the Plan is being followed.
NATIONAL PROGRAMME LEVEL 3
This will apply to the likes of brewers/distillers, food additive manufacturers, fruit drink and flour manufacturers. It will require:
- registration of business details (at an expected cost of around $50–$100*);
- covering the cost of a check to make sure their processes are safe (likely to be every two years).
NATIONAL PROGRAMME LEVEL 2
This will apply to the likes of bakeries, manufacturers of jams, chips, confectionery, sauces and spreads.
It will require:
- registration of business details (at a cost of around $50–$100*);
- covering the cost of a check to make sure their processes are safe (likely to be every three years).
NATIONAL PROGRAMME LEVEL 1
This will apply to the commercial horticulture sector and the likes of manufacturers of frozen fruit and vegetables. It will require:
- registration of the businesses details (at an expected cost of around $50–$100*);
- covering the cost of a check to make sure their processes are safe (likely to be a one off).
FOOD HANDLER GUIDANCE – GUIDANCE ONLY
This will apply to low-risk and infrequent charitable activities like sausage sizzles, people growing and selling their own fruit and vegetables direct to consumers, and people selling food at an annual event.
- All they have to do is continue to sell safe food – there is no registration or check.
- Free food safety guidance will be available.
If you would like further information on the Food Bill, please go to www.foodsafety.govt.nz