Authority addresses Food Bill critics
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.
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.