The Food Act 2014, which came into effect on March 1, applies to anyone who makes, sells, grows or transports food commercially, and is designed to modernise food safety in New Zealand.
Deputy Director-General regulation and assurance Scott Gallacher says anyone who starts a business that involves food must now follow the new law, including restaurants, rest homes, education providers, corner dairies, market stalls and internet cake sellers. Whilst existing businesses also need to make changes, they will be given more time to comply.
“Although the new law started on March 1, existing food businesses don’t have to make changes straight away,” Gallacher says. “They will move over to the new Act at different times over a three year transition period.
“The new law is designed to help businesses and consumers. It moves from a one-size-fits-all approach, to one that regulates businesses according to risk. 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.
“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.
“By focusing on what’s most important to food safety, the law will help ensure safer food for consumers. At the same time, keeping costs down for businesses will also keep costs down for consumers.”
By making food safety requirements more efficient for businesses, the Act fits with wider government efforts to deliver better public services, Gallacher says.
Businesses should visit:
www.mpi.govt.nz/foodact to find out what they need to do.