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.

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