New Zealand Law Society - Food safety laws set to be updated

Food safety laws set to be updated

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A bill going through parliament would update three Acts on food safety.

The Food Safety Law Reform Bill addresses the recommendations of the independent Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident in August 2013 at a Fonterra Plant.

The Primary Production Committee says that, although the inquiry focused solely on the dairy sector, the bill would amend all three of New Zealand’s main food safety Acts –the Animal Products Act 1999, the Food Act 2014, and the Wine Act 2003.

“This would improve their alignment, operation, and design to better protect human health, and maintain and strengthen New Zealand’s reputation as a supplier of safe and suitable food, both domestically and internationally,” the committee’s report says.

The committee makes several amendments in relation to food control plans which are generally required for high-risk businesses such as restaurants.

The amendments include:

  • that the plan must be submitted for registration in a form acceptable to the appropriate registration authority;
  • that new regulation may include requirements that a food control plan must be differentiated from other information kept by the operator and times within which copies of amendments to a food control plan must be provided to the operator’s verifier or verification agency;
  • that notices may be issued by the chief executive in relation to various additional matters such as the training and competency of persons who operate under food control plans;
  • provisions relating to contents and registration of food control plans; and
  • provisions relating to food control plans which are not based on an official template or model (registration, suspension etc.)
  • The Bill had its first reading on 16 August 2016 and was discussed by the Select Committee last month.
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