Au­thor­ity ad­dresses Food Bill crit­ics

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page -

There is grow­ing con­cern af­ter ru­mours have started that a pro­posed law change that af­fects how and where peo­ple can sell food will deeply af­fect small com­mu­nity sell­ers in­clud­ing those in Mata­mata.

More than 30,000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion try­ing to stop the new Food Bill – in­tro­duced to Par­lia­ment in May last year and now in its sec­ond read­ing – from re­plac­ing the Food Act 1981.

But Food Safety Min­is­ter Kate Wilkin­son said re­vamp­ing the bill will help sim­plify the food safety reg­u­la­tions that are of­ten mis­un­der­stood by sell­ers.

‘‘Food safety is im­por­tant and is an is­sue that peo­ple are in­ter­ested in. The num­ber of peo­ple sign­ing the pe­ti­tion re­flects this con­cern,’’ she said.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately there is a high level of mis­in­for­ma­tion and scare­mon­ger­ing about this and steps are be­ing taken to ad­dress this.’’

She said that af­ter the leg­is­la­tion was passed, it would be sup­ported by reg­u­la­tions that would ex­plain spe­cific re­quire­ments for busi­ness and help peo­ple un­der­stand how the new act af­fects them.

Here is a sim­ple break­down of how the bill works:

No- one will come un­der the scope of the Food Bill un­less they are sell­ing or trad­ing food for profit.

Those

sell­ing

fruit and

veges straight to con­sumers won’t in­cur any ex­tra costs or reg­u­la­tions.

Stall­hold­ers at farm­ers’ mar­kets or com­mu­nity mar­kets will be sub­ject to one of two food con­trol plans, or food han­dler guide­lines to en­sure safety, de­pend­ing on the prod­ucts they sell.

Fundrais­ing sausage siz­zles can still oc­cur as they al­ways have.

Com­mer­cial pro­duc­ers of jams and pick­les will be re­quired to reg­is­ter and un­dergo oc­ca­sional safety checks.

Those sell­ing raw meat will be reg­u­lated the same as any butch­ery and will be re­quired to oper­ate un­der a food con­trol plan.

The bill does not al­low ex­emp­tions.

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