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13 June 2018

Titīro – New Tool for Recording Verification & Enforcement Data – Nearly Here!

Right now we are running testing and feedback sessions with verifiers and food safety officers who contacted us following the last Food News update. A draft of the user guide is now available, and we’re preparing for ‘go-live’.

Show and tell sessions on how to use Titīro will be organised for late June which will cover: how to search for business, site, registration authority or verification agency; how to review business and site information; how to create a Verification record; how to create an Enforcement Outcome record; and how to upload data in bulk.

All this information should put you in a position to start recording Verification/Enforcement data into Titīro from 1 July 2018. If you would like to attend one of the show and tell sessions and haven’t already dropped us a line, please get in touch with us at titiro.support@mpi.govt.nz. We are especially keen to hear from you if you want to use the bulk upload facility so we can liaise with your IT people to make it as seamless as possible.

In mid-June, you’ll notice changes to MPI’s Working As A Verifier and Food Safety Officer web pages too. There you’ll find the Titīro guides, quick reference cards, and the application form to become a Titīro user.

So it’s a very busy time! Many thanks to everyone who has been in touch already.

Simply Safe & Suitable Upcoming Changes

We’re working on making some changes to the Simply Safe & Suitable template Food Control Plan (FCP). Some operators using the Plan told us that they want be able to sell their food to other businesses, as well as direct to the consumer, so we’re working on writing a new card that explains how operators can do this safely.

We’ll also add the new mandatory allergen, lupin, to the list of allergens that operators need to know about. If you aren’t sure what lupin is all about, have a read of this document.

We need your feedback to let us know if the changes are clear and easy to understand. Consultation will open on 21 June 2018, so make sure you have your say.

When we release the updated Simply Safe & Suitable template, we’ll also begin the process of phasing out the March 2017 Food Service & Food Retail template FCPs (as advised in Food News editions October and November 2017). The phasing out will start with removing the Food Service and Food Retail template from our website. The great guidance material within that old template won't be lost. It will be reused in the new Food Safety Toolkit that will be launched soon. We’ll provide more details on the phasing out process in future editions of Food News.

S40s for Aged Care Facilities

We’re pleased to let you know that applications for section 40 (s40) template Food Control Plans (FCPs) from the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) and the Care Association of New Zealand (CANZ) have been approved. 

The NZACA Food Control Plan is available to members only. The CANZ Food Service Plan is available to those authorised by the association (members and non-members) to use. 

Aged care facilities using one of these plans will register their plan with MPI. Verifiers listed as a template FCP verifier on the Recognised Agencies register will be eligible to verify the new templates – these include the Whangarei District Council, Dunedin City Council, Hauraki District Council and Palmerston North City Council. We encourage all other councils with a Quality Management System in place to apply for their Food Act template recognition, which replaces their deemed status.

Some aged care facilities may decide the new s40 plans are not for them after all and choose to use the Simply Safe and Suitable template. We have asked that if this is the case, they register their Simply Safe and Suitable Plan with their local council by 30 June 2018 and have reassured them that they will not be penalised for applying to register after the 31 March 2018 date.


IMPORTANT Information

Upcoming Audit of Food Act Services

As you will be aware, the date by which all New Zealand food business must be registered under the Food Act 2014 is fast approaching. The transitional period ends 28 February 2019.

Recent survey results from food businesses and Territorial Authorities (TAs) have provided useful insights in how the Food Act implementation is going. To build on this, MPI is now seeking to measure progress, gaps and opportunities to ensure that our national services are achieving the required outcomes. To help achieve this, we are undertaking an audit of all co-regulators over the coming 8 months.

The purpose of this audit is to:
• Assess the effectiveness of MPI and its co-regulators’ provision of regulatory services required under the Food Act 2014.
• Establish the level of consistency in the application of the Food Act 2014 across all co-regulators.

The audit will ascertain whether or not agencies are applying an appropriate and consistent approach to the registration of food businesses, verification services, compliance and enforcement activities, including the provision of technical advice and support to new and existing businesses. The outcomes will inform further development and review of standards, systems, training and development and to help agencies identify key areas for improvement.

Audits will start from 25 June 2018 in the Central North Island and will continue through to February 2019. We estimate that each visit will take between 1 to 2 days depending on the size of the agency and the scope of activities being undertaken. Regulatory Managers will be contacted directly to arrange suitable dates and times for the audit.

This is not a review of exclusivity under section 137 of the Act, but it will provide you with an opportunity to provide feedback to MPI ahead of this review.

Regular updates will be provided though Food News.

Pending S40 Applications

Bunnings Warehouse: Bunnings has an application in the pipeline for their on-site cafes. With this in mind, if you have a Bunnings site in your region and their registration is coming due for renewal, please note that they will shortly be registering with MPI under a section 40 (s40) template. As with previous s40 applications, MPI is happy for Bunnings to delay their registration until that time.

Horticulture sector: MPI is working with a number of horticultural industry organisations with a view to approving GLOBALG.A.P. and NZGAP under s40. As part of this process, MPI is also working with the industry on recognition of GAP inspectors and auditors to carry out verifications, and receiving registrations via member organisations. We will keep you informed about this work as it progresses. In the meantime, please keep this in mind if you are contacting horticultural growers and packhouses about their transition to the Food Act.

Hemp Seeds as Food

MPI and the Ministry of Health (MoH) are consulting on changes allowing the sale of hemp seed as food. Following the consultation, if the Government agrees to what is proposed, law changes are expected by the end of 2018.

The sale of hemp seed for human consumption (apart from hemp seed oil, which is already legal in New Zealand) remains illegal until these law changes come into effect. After the law changes, hemp seed will fall under similar Food Act requirements for grains, seeds and nuts, but additional MoH licencing requirements will apply to whole hemp seeds.

Processors of seeds and nuts should be registered already. Existing horticultural producers need to apply to register under the Food Act by 30 November 2018. New businesses need to register as soon as they start.

Here is a link to the consultation document on our website that explains it. We’ll keep you updated as things progress.


What’s New in the Academy?

We're continuously developing content and capability within the Food Verifiers Academy. We’re about to add some valuable information in the Academy’s Knowledge Hub about Verification Time Frames & Evidence Gathering and Request for Extension of Time to have Compliant Labelling.

To provide guidance, this month we published Practice Note 7 “Verification time frames & evidence gathering”. This document aims to assist verifiers to tailor their activities to ensure verifications are effective and efficient. It seeks to provide confidence that verification processes are robust while ensuring verifications do not take longer than necessary.

From time-to-time food businesses will find labelling mistakes. This can happen during routine verifications and third party supplier audits. If the mistakes mean there are non-compliances with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, food businesses need to take appropriate and timely action to fix the mistakes. When deciding on what needs to be done, food businesses and verifiers must consider any food safety implications. Visit the Academy to learn more Compliant Labelling.

Remember, 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

NEW Food Safety Templates

New Wine Standards Management Plan

To best support the wine industry, we’re developing a new Wine Standards Management Plan (WSMP), also known as a Food Safety Template for Winemakers.

The purpose of the new template is to provide businesses who operate under both the Wine and Food Acts with the option to operate under a single plan, for example wineries with cellar door tastings. It also gives businesses who operate under only the Wine Act the option to either to keep using the current codes of practice, or use the new template. 

Types of people who can use the wine template are:
• Winemakers who sell domestically (includes Australia)
• Winemakers who export
• Winemakers who sell domestically (includes Australia) with cellar door tastings
• Winemakers who export with cellar door tastings
• Winemakers who sell domestically (includes Australia) with a restaurant
• Winemakers who export with a restaurant
• Bottlers who receive, bottle, label and store wine

To progress the template, we have been consulting one-on-one with a number of wine businesses, held 2 workshops (10 May in Cromwell and 16 May in Hawkes Bay) and hosted a testing event in Blenheim on 6 June. The formal consultation will start on 21 June. You will be able to provide feedback on the template via an online survey from the Consultations page on the MPI website. Check out this video that explains how the new Food Safety Template for Winemakers works.

If you’re keen to be involved with the template consultation process, email us at foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers Launched

Cheesemakers are set to benefit from a risk-based and common-sense approach to food safety rules. At the Great Eketahuna Cheese Festival on 14 May 2018, Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor launched the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers – a tool to help cheesemakers producing cheese for New Zealand and Australia to meet food safety requirements.

The Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers, developed for the first time in partnership with artisan cheesemakers, pulls together food safety rules (for both the Food Act and the Animal Products Act) – making it easier and cheaper to meet the rules. The template covers farm to fork – i.e. farm dairy/milking animals, making and selling of cheese. The new, single plan for cheesemakers does not change the food safety rules, but is intended to be shorter, simpler and easier for businesses to know what they have to do to make and sell safe and suitable cheese.

New businesses wanting to make and sell cheese need to select and use the relevant sections from the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers. Please note TAs will be the registration authority if the template is registered as an FCP. Please see the specific advice as follows.

The template can be used by the following types of operators:
1. Dairy farmers who sell milk to cheesemakers (including milk for making raw milk cheese). These dairy farmers need to register with MPI and operate under the Animal Products Act.

2. Dairy farmers who make cheese (including raw milk cheese). These dairy farmers need to register with MPI and choose to operate under either the Animal Products Act and the Food Act or just the Animal Products Act.

3. Cheesemongers who buy, mature and sell cheese (including raw milk cheese) within NZ and Australia. Cheesemongers need to register with their local council if their business is within one council region, and operates under the Food Act. If they have multiple sites across multiple council regions they will register with MPI. They will need to register as an exporter with MPI if they are sending product to Australia.

4. Cheesemakers who make and sell cheese (including raw milk cheese) within NZ and Australia. Cheesemakers need to register with their local council if their business is within one council region, and operate under the Food Act. If they have multiple sites across multiple council regions they will register MPI.

Links to the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers are now live on the MPI web site, under Requirements and Forms&Templates. We’re developing a new web page with full details about the template. In the meantime, you can read about the template launch in the NZ Herald (14 May) and Wairarapa Times Age (May 16).


Food Act at Field Days

Promoted as Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event and the ultimate launch platform for cutting edge technology and innovation, Southern Field Days here! At the 13-16 June event at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, you’ll find New Zealand Food Safety staff talking Food Act and Food Regulation at MPI’s site #558 (at the southern end of the event). To find out about Southern Field Days and what’s on offer, visit the website

Fine Food New Zealand

If you’re visiting Fine Food New Zealand 2018 (24-26 June 2018 in Auckland), come and have a chat with us about food safety and food exporting. Fine Food New Zealand is known as the largest national trade event for food service, hospitality and retail sectors. The 2018 MPI site (site N9) will involve the Food & Beverage and Exporter Regulatory Advice Service teams. Check out the web site Fine Food New Zealand 2018.

On Monday June 25, our MPI Food & Beverage Manager, Sally Johnston, will present a “Business benefits through creative communications” seminar at 4.00pm-4.45pm. Hear about the exciting new interactive tools set for 2018 – pushing the boundaries for business benefits though smart technology and customer focus. Come along and share your ideas about new and/or better ways to bolster business through communication tools.