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12 November 2018

Application Deadline & Deemed FSPs

The Food Act registration application deadline, 30 November 2018, is almost here. This deadline covers a number of businesses, including those which are still on deemed Food Safety Plans (FSPs).

We’re aware some deemed FSP businesses are having trouble finding evaluators, so the Ministry for Primary Industries is offering to act as the evaluator for these businesses, so long as they haven’t made any significant changes in their business since their last verification. We are emailing/mailing these businesses directly – but if you hear of any who haven’t got this message, please encourage them to email us on foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz.

Territorial Authorities: as our partners in managing the implementation of the Food Act 2014, we need your help to get all businesses across the line. As you know registration takes time, so please urge your local food businesses to apply now.

Read more.


Fast-Track Recognition Update

It’s a good time to talk about the fast track recognition process as the transition period is almost over.

Fast track was created to help interested people become a “Recognised Agency and Person”, which would allow them to verify National Programmes. A key element of this process is the need for an Agency to have a Quality Management System (QMS) in place which reflects all the requirements set out in Food Regulations 2015 – 110(2). 

So far, MPI has reviewed 23 QMSs from different councils. The next stage to becoming fully recognised is to have the QMS assessed. These assessments are completed, on behalf of MPI, by one of the Accreditation Agencies. 

For those still developing their QMSs and those working on their corrections, we have a summary of the top three commonly-missed themes.

Read more.

Hemp Seeds Can Be Sold As Food

Hemp seeds can be sold as food in New Zealand from 12 November 2018 - click here to read the media release. 

This law change means that hemp seeds can be sold for human consumption. Under the Food Act, hemp seed growers need to register a National Programme 1, and processors of seeds need to register a National Programme 2 (with the exception if they process hemp seeds into oil, then they will need a National Programme 3). In addition to meeting the requirements of the Food Act, businesses which handle or process whole hemp seeds will need to hold a Ministry of Health Industrial Hemp General Licence.

We have developed two guidance documents: A Guide to Hemp Seeds as Food, and A Guide to Labelling Food Containing Hemp Seeds as Food

The guidance is available here, under Technical Guidance.

Read more.



Close-Out Dates for Approvals Applications

For the Christmas-New Year period, most MPI sites will be closed from the end of business on 24 December 2018, and will open again on 3 January 2019. Please note there will be minimal staff attendance on the 24 December.

If we receive correctly completed Food Act applications for new businesses by Friday, 30 November 2018, we'll try to process these before Christmas. Any applications received after that date may not be approved until the New Year.

Approvals emails will not be monitored from 24 December until we open again on Thursday, 3 January. We will advise contact details for anything urgent during the close-down period.

QMS Assessments

A Recognised Agency needs to have procedures in place, which are part of their Quality Management System (QMS), which will ensure that verifiers are:
• Trained and capable and confirmed as being competent.
• Can assess the business that they have been asked to verify.
• Know what to escalate and report, to whom, by when.

A number of hot topics have come up during assessments of Recognised Agencies – Confirmation of Competency; and Escalation and Reporting of Issues.

Read more.


Thermometer Calibration Guidance

Thermometer calibration is like a Warrant of Fitness for thermometers – it’s a chance to make sure everything is working correctly. Following feedback from verifiers and Territorial Authorities, we’ve produced a one-page instruction document – Thermometer Calibration Guidance.

Condition Setting for Registration Authorities

We’ve published a new Practice Note that sets out guidance for Registration Authorities outside of Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on setting conditions of registration for food businesses under the Food Act 2014. Practice Note 9 Condition setting for Registration Authorities based in Territorial Authorities can be found here.

This document draws on the content of the Food Act 2014. It was developed in collaboration with multiple Territorial Authorities and stakeholders within MPI. This guidance describes: some of the situations where use of a condition of registration might be appropriate; requirements and constraints related to setting conditions of registration; and what is involved when there is a request for review of a condition.

A Guide to Alcoholic Drinks

Our Guide to Alcoholic Drinks – what’s in them and how to label them has been finalised. The guide can be found here under the ‘Technical guidance’ heading.

This guidance aims to help manufacturers, importers and retailers of alcoholic drinks to better understand labelling and composition requirements from the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The guide also covers requirements from other relevant legislation, for example the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. As A Guide to Alcoholic Drinks – what’s in them and how to label them is guidance, businesses can choose to use this guide – or not.


Food Safety Workshops for Food Businesses

This month, we’re hosting four New Zealand Food Safety Workshops in key horticultural regions. Horticulture is one of the largest sectors that needs to needs to apply for Food Act registration by 30 November 2018.

The workshops are an introduction to the Food Act, how to comply with food safety requirements and what it means for growers and packers. 

Workshop details:
• Hastings – Monday, 19 November. Havelock North Community Centre, 30 Te Mata Road, Havelock North. 2:30pm-4:30pm.
• Tasman – Tuesday, 20 November. The Oak Room, Headingly Centre, 452 Lower Queen St, Richmond. 2pm-4pm.
• Central Otago – Thursday, 22 November. The Cellar Door, 143 Centennial Ave, Bridge Hill, Alexandra. 2pm-4pm.
• South Auckland/Pukekohe – Tuesday 27 November. 

To RSVP to the workshops, people can respond to our Facebook events, or contact us at foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz.

Read more.

Recognised Persons Training Days

Join us! We are running Recognised Persons Training Days in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

These full-day events, themed ‘Coaching, Culture and Calibration’, are suitable for all recognised persons and people training to become recognised persons including verifiers, evaluators and food safety officers.

Training day details:

• Auckland – Wednesday, 28 November. MPI airport facility, 17 Morris Wilson Avenue.
• Wellington – Monday, 3 December. Wharewaka Function Centre, Frank Kitts Lagoon, 2 Taranaki Street.
• Dunedin – Thursday, 6 December. Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop Street.

To register your interest in a training day:

• Please contact us at foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz and we’ll send you a registration form to complete and a flyer. Or
• Visit the Food Verifiers Academy to access the forms and flyer.

Read more.

NZ Agricultural Show

We’re getting ready to join this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show, 14 to 16 November in Christchurch. If you’re attending the event, please drop by the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) site and chat with Tina and Janet from New Zealand Food Safety.

The MPI site is located right in the centre of the Show, so we should be really easy for you to find. We have a fresh and exciting display communicating MPI’s ‘actions today to grow and protect tomorrow’. There will be fun and educational activities and learning stations throughout the display including tattoos, clean cook chill activity, animal welfare activity, and paua measuring station. Our new Food Safety Toolbox will feature at the event.


Share Your Food Stories for The Buddy

Some of you will have heard that we are drafting our second issue of The Buddy Magazine. This issue will focus on how to create a good food safety culture, particularly looking at staff training. As part of this, we would love to hear from you if you know some real-life food businesses who have a good culture in their workplace.

We’re particularly looking for food businesses who:
• Encourage an honest and open relationship between staff, where it’s okay to admit mistakes and ask questions.
• Cater to different learning styles and backgrounds when training their staff.
• Have innovative ways to help staff remember and learn what to do (e.g. invent games, songs, quizzes, incentives etc).

If you think you know a great business who’d be up for talking with us and possibly making a video too, please email tina.haji-shirmohammadi@mpi.govt.nz by 19 November 2018 with a brief description of the food business and their contact details.


Know Someone Who’s Not Getting Food News?

This newsletter is aimed at councils, verifiers and food safety officers working under the Food Act. If you have colleagues in these roles, please make sure everyone is getting it. Although we communicate in other ways as well, Food News is the official source of information about the system.

To subscribe, your colleagues can click here to sign up for Food News. To read previous editions of the newsletter, scroll down to the Food News section on this page.