Act prompts council to act
Changes to the food industry are quickly approaching and have put the South Waikato District Council under pressure.
The Food Act 2014 will come into force in March 2016 and will apply to new food businesses and suppliers who begin trading from that date.
Existing businesses will have three years to transition.
Businesses will have to selfmonitor food under the council’s management. Councils nationwide have already implemented a programme for selected businesses to operate under the new regime.
Environmental health manager John Anderson was worried South Waikato would not be ready.
‘‘Many are at least a year of two ahead of us . . . When the full regulations come in, we will be really pushed.’’
If the transition is done well it will mean people will have safer food, he said, but the ‘‘burden’’ will come back to the council and the food industry.
Under the new proposed regime, every operator would pay a flat registration fee depending on the risk factor deemed by the council.
‘‘ If operators adhere to the standards and regulations, these costs will be as low as possible.’’
An ‘‘intensive’’ and costly audit would take place if they weren’t.
While the costs are unknown, the council is listing price as one of the main issues which will be sent to central government in a submission.
Sweet Rose Cafe is one of 70 ‘‘eating houses’’ in the district to be affected.
Owner Lorraine Young said her only concern was the cost.
The cafe’s grill chef, Paul Adams, operated under the new regime through the Hamilton City Council.
It required daily monitoring of the food which was recorded but protected him from any accusations of food poisoning, he said.
Community groups have seemingly received the best deal.
Food stalls for fundraisers currently need a temporary licence but won’t have to under the new act.
NEW SYSTEMS: Sweet Rose cafe’s grill chef Paul Adams has experienced the new food safety regime and is happy to see it come to South Waikato.