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14 August 2018

Food Safety Tools Welcomed

On 19 July in Wellington, Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor launched three new tools to support food safety practices in food and wine businesses. We are thrilled to introduce the Food Safety Toolkit, new Food Safety Template for Winemakers and Simply Safe & Suitable template Food Control Plan (FCP) update. 

The event met with a great turnout of over 100 people, including winemakers, food businesses, verifiers and Territorial Authorities (TAs) from across New Zealand – with positive feedback and media interest, inc. Radio New Zealand.

We filmed a video about the Food Safety Toolkit launch, and masterclasses to demonstrate how the updated/new Template Food Control Plans and Toolkit work.

What’s next? For more details about the new tools, stay tuned for our special edition of Food News. A free Toolkit will be sent to every existing registered FCP business. There are a number of incorrect/incomplete mailing addresses for food businesses in the MAPS system, so we will ask businesses to verify their addresses via a survey. To support this process and help your local food businesses receive a Toolkit – if you notice any addresses in MAPS that are obviously inaccurate, can you please help by correcting these addresses by 31 August.

We are working on more templates for specialised processes and an interactive tool to enable food businesses to compile a “one plan” or Custom Food Control Plan from existing, pre-evaluated template material from across all the food safety legislation. To help prioritise which new templates to work on first, we welcome your feedback about which food requirements businesses are having the most trouble understanding, via foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz.

Escalation to the Registration Authority

We have been asked by verifiers to clarify when they should escalate issues to a registration authority.

As a verifier, you will sometimes be in a situation where you’ve tried everything at your disposal to encourage a business to comply.

Examples of these situations are when a business continually fails to close out non-compliances or when a business isn’t responding to requests to schedule a verification visit. In these situations, verifiers do have the option of escalating the issue to the business’s registration authority. The registration authority has tools at their disposal, including suspension and cancellation of registration, that can further encourage businesses to comply. 

In such cases, if a business is registered with MPI, the verifier should email approvals@mpi.govt.nz. If the business is registered with a Territorial Authority (TA), the verifier must contact the TA’s registration authority.

The registration authority will follow their process to encourage the business to comply, or if this fails initiate enforcement action. The verifier will be advised of progress throughout this process.

Cost of User Licences for MAPS & Titiro

The introduction of the Titiro system, which is used to capture verification activities and enforcement data, continues this month. MPI staff are providing familiarisation training at cluster meetings.

Please remember that your monthly reports for July 2018 were due in Titiro today, 14 August. If you have yet to complete, please do so as soon as you can.

One of the most common questions we’ve received while rolling out Titiro is: “what will the licences for users of the MAPs and Titiro systems cost?” MPI has managed to secure funding to allow each Territorial Authority (TA) and Third Party Agency two MAPS and/or Titiro licences that they will not be charged for. Any licences above this will be charged at $500 (incl GST) per licence per year. 

We'll be contacting all TAs and Third Party Agencies shortly to advise how many licences you currently hold. You will have until mid-September to work through how many licences your agency needs before we invoice you for your licences for the July 2018 to June 2019 period. Remember, when working through how many you need, a user who requires access to both MAPS and Titiro is using a single licence. Invoices will be sent in late September 2018. 

If you require additional licences during the year you will be charged on a pro-rata basis for that licence. MPI will check with agencies each year, prior to invoicing, that your user licence numbers are correct.

You can find the Titiro guides and the application form to become a Titiro user here. If you have questions, you can contact us at titiro.support@mpi.govt.nz.


IMPORTANT Information

Top 5 Food Safety Factors

The Food Act 2014 is all about managing risk, so to help businesses and verifiers work out what to focus on, MPI has identified the top 5 food safety factors for different types of businesses. Food businesses do different things, so what's most important when it comes to food safety isn't always the same.

The top 5 factors aren't all that businesses need to do to comply with the law – but if they get these right, they will have minimised their biggest risks.

The food sectors we identified top 5s for are:
• Manufacturers of confectionery
• Bakeries that prepare or manufacture bread or bread-based products
• Retailers of packaged chilled and frozen food, excluding ice cream and iced confectionery
• Retailers who handle food, but don't prepare or manufacture food
• Manufacturers of food additives, processing aids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to be added to food
• Manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages
• Producers of herbs and spices, including loose tea
• Food service businesses, like restaurants and cafes
• Early childhood education services
• Manufacturers of non-shelf-stable sauces, spreads, dips, and soups
• Manufacturers of ready-to-eat salads
• Manufacturers of food for vulnerable people – who manufacture packaged meals or foods for babies, frail, elderly people, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems
• Processors of nuts, seeds and coffee.

Let’s look at an example. For manufacturers of food for vulnerable people, these are the 5 food safety factors we've focussed on:
• Get the right training – know how to keep food safe
• Control listeria – it can be deadly for vulnerable people
• Cook and store food at the right temperature
• Keep cooked, raw and allergen food separate
• Be hygienic – wash your hands and don't go to work sick.

If you want to see what the top 5 factors are for each business sector, check these out on our website here.

New Food Safety Videos

We’ve been very busy for the last three months filming and developing new videos to help businesses, Territorial Authorities and verifiers.

These include:
Explaining the Food Act
History and philosophy of the Food Act – An insight into the purpose of The Act, and determining risk-based measures in verification. 
History and philosophy of the Food Act (FAQ) – We answer some frequently asked questions from verifiers about The Act and the approach to verification. 
Objectives of the Food Act – We explain the objectives and intentions of The Act. 

Videos for Food Act Verifiers
Reality Check, Verifying an Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre  – A live commentary of an ECE verification. 
ECE Entry Interview + Commentary – A live commentary of a verification entry meeting at an ECE. 
ECE Exit Interview + Commentary – A live commentary of a verification exit meeting at an ECE. 
Trusting your judgement as a verifier – Verification outcomes and when to trust your judgement. 
Being a recognised verifier – What it means to be a recognised person under the Food Act. 

Business Food Safety Videos
Single use tongs – Check out a way to prevent cross-contamination of food in restaurants. 
Pest control – Discover one unique solution to this problem. 
Labelling – Find out a simple way to label food containers. 
Separation – Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe demonstrates their method of separation. 
Kids + hand washing – Why kids think it’s important to wash their hands and how they do it. 
Wash your hands – Some examples of when hands come into contact with bugs in the kitchen. 
Why should I keep records? – Find out why it’s a good idea for businesses to keep records.  

Videos about Food Act Processes
Customer-centric approach – Shaking up the way we work with businesses by using a customer-centric approach. 
Winemakers Template Testing Workshop – Showcasing the testing workshop held at Spy Valley Vineyards, Blenheim. 
Simplifying compliance in the wine industry – Showcasing collaboration with the wine industry to simplify regulation and compliance. 


HAVE Your Say

Food Verifiers Academy Survey

We are beginning to plan resources for development over the next 5 months for the online Food Verifiers Academy.

We want to ensure the tools used to deliver the information are methods which work for you. As this hub is for verifiers, it is important that you tell us what content you want to see in the Academy. Please have your say by completing this survey by 5pm, 28 August 2018.

If you are already registered with Tiritiri (the MPI Learning Management System), you can access the Academy through the main page of Tiritiri. If you have not already done so, register now.

We invite your questions, comments and ideas to verifieracademy@mpi.govt.nz.


Join us to Workshop Ways to Verify

Have you seen, heard or thought of a different way of verifying that you think could work?

MPI’s New Zealand Food Safety has faced a number of challenges while implementing our current system of verification for the Food Act 2014. These challenges include the costs and availability of Third Party Verifiers that businesses face when attempting to comply with verification requirements, and the costs that councils and verifiers face in providing these services.

We need your help to improve the way businesses, registered under Food Control Plans or National Programmes, are verified when complying with the Food Act. We want to make the verification process better, easier and more affordable for businesses, especially small businesses. And in turn, to make it easier for councils and verifiers to manage.

To generate some new ideas for verifying, we’re really keen to hear from everyone involved in the process, including councils, verifiers, workers and business owners. Anyone who has an idea about how we can make this process better is welcome. 

Join us at a Food Act Verification Workshop in August and September to brainstorm new cost-effective and efficient solutions that we could take forward to trial. Be part of the change you want to see! 

The workshops will be held:
• Wednesday, 29 August. MPI Auckland Centre, 17 Maurice Wilson Ave, Auckland Airport. 11am-4pm.
• Wednesday, 5 September. Cnr Clyde and Jeffreys Roads, Christchurch. 11am-4pm.

To RSVP, head to our Facebook events for Auckland and Christchurch or email us at foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz. Please note, workshop spaces are limited, so RSVP is essential.

If you can’t attend a workshop, but would like to get involved, please email us your ideas at foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz.

MBIE Small Business Roadshow

MBIE Small Business Roadshow

MPI has joined the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) small business roadshow to help provide support and advice to small businesses. Bringing together key government agencies, the 2018 roadshow involves 12 events across New Zealand.

A team from MPI will be there at each event to talk with small businesses about food safety and food exporting. Council staff are invited to join us at your local event. 

Coming up in August are:
• Tuesday, 21 August: Matamata Club, 9 Waharoa Road East, Matamata. 4.30pm.
• Wednesday, 22 August: Vodafone Event Centre, 770 Great South Road, Manukau, Auckland. 4pm.
• Thursday, 23 August: Pasifika event. Vodafone Event Centre, 770 Great South Road, Manukau, Auckland. 4pm.
• Monday, 27 August: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Lakefront, 27 Frankton Road, Queenstown. 4.30pm.
• Wednesday, 29 August: The Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop St, Dunedin. 3.30pm.
• Thursday, 30 August: Tait Technology Centre, 245 Wooldridge Road, Harewood, Christchurch. 8.30am.
• Friday, 31 August: Pulse Energy Centre, Westport. 12pm.

You can register for all locations by clicking here.

As part of the roadshow, we’ve developed a short MPI video to target small food businesses and prospective food businesses.