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19 September 2018

There’s an App for That!

The New Zealand Food Safety team has been hearing that some councils and verifiers are concerned about food businesses using digital Food Control Plans (FCPs) and record keeping.

We have heard some councils and verifiers are advising food businesses to “use MPI's free online information as no app is up to standard”, “you can only use paper”, or that “no app meets the requirements”.

We are completely comfortable with food businesses or third parties digitising our templates and guidance (which is permitted under our copyright licence as long as they acknowledge the source). If a digital template FCP helps a food business meet its food safety requirements, we’re all for it!

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Traceability and Food Packaging

Recently, there have been some questions about requirements for traceability of food packaging. We have also become aware of some differences in opinion and felt it might be helpful to clarify expectations.

Under the Food Act 2014, food packaging is regarded as a food-related accessory (this also includes scoops, spoons, chopsticks etc. when included in packaging). The Food Regulations 2015 requires that packaging and food-related accessories can be recalled if required.

What do food businesses have to do?

MPI suggests treating packaging and other food-related accessories as any other ingredients. These should be considered when developing systems for traceability and recall.

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Have Your Local Businesses Transitioned?

It’s timely to talk about businesses that have not transitioned to the Food Act 2014 and/or need to apply for registration by 30 November 2018.

Many of the affected businesses are manufacturers that have to transition registration from a Food Hygiene Regulations registration to a custom Food Control Plan or a National Programme. Understanding what they need to do and how to do it is a real issue for this type of business.

It's important to support a business to achieve compliance where possible before taking enforcement action. Ideally, this support should have occurred well before the transition period, given the enforcement action may result in the business being directed to cease distributing/selling food.

Read more.


HAVE Your Say

Alcoholic Beverage Guidance

We’re developing guidance to help manufacturers of alcoholic beverages get their labels right. The guide will cover a range of topics specific to alcoholic beverages including exemptions, permitted nutrition content claims and use of food additives.

The first draft for testing will be sent out today (19 September). If you’re interested in being part of the testing group, please email Lisa at lisa.horsman@mpi.govt.nz and let her know

Finding Businesses for Remote Verification Field Trials

You may be aware that New Zealand Food Safety is running a project using technology for verifying food businesses to save time and money.

We are currently seeking food businesses willing to work with our experienced remote verifiers in further field trials, and are seeking your help to find them.

We’re looking for businesses that:
• Are operating at National Programme (NP) Retail (either Level 1, 2, or 3) or NP2 Food Service (Early Childcare).
• Need a verification visit before the end of November 2018.
• Should be ‘remote’ – i.e. off the verifiers’ normally well-beaten track.

Read more.

IMPORTANT Information

Specific Exemptions Under Section 33

A reminder that Section 33 of the Food Act 2014 enables the Ministry for Primary Industries to issue specific exemptions from the requirement to operate under a registered Food Control Plan or a National Programme.

The exemption may be granted to any person, group of persons, or type or description of food business within a food sector.

For more details, check out this Food Notice about Section 33 exemptions – Exemption from operating under a registered Food Control Plan or National Programme.

Read more.

Toolkit Distribution

As per previous Food News editions, a free Food Safety Toolkit will be sent via courier to every existing registered Food Control Plan business. We started by sending Toolkits out to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch businesses. Any bounce backs will be collected by the courier, recorded and then given to councils as bulk lots.

Thanks to all the Territorial Authorities (TAs) who helped by updating mailing addresses for registered food businesses in the MAPS system.

We will be providing training and information to TAs and verifiers about the Toolkits. Dates and locations to be confirmed.

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Regulatory Services Audit Update

Since starting the audits of regulatory services across all Territorial Authorities (TAs) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), 23 authorities have gone through the process. Thanks to everyone for your warm welcome, participation and input.

The findings so far are showing that systems, processes and service delivery in the areas of registration and verification are well developed in the majority of TAs. That being said, the visits have identified some areas that would benefit from additional focus (from TAs, MPI or both) to make the journey a little easier and improve service delivery.

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Managing Food Safety of Non-Animal Food Products

We’ve been receiving enquiries from food businesses who produce animal products and manage food safety of these products through a Risk Management Programme (RMP) under the Animal Products Act (APA). They also produce non-animal product foods that are regulated under the Food Act and want to know whether they can extend their RMP scope to manage food safety of these non-animal product foods.

The answer to this is: yes they can. The APA was amended in 2016 (see Clause 17(5)) to allow for the plans under the Food Act that manage food safety of non-animal food products to be incorporated as part of their RMP.

Read more.

Determining Verification Practice Note 8

As guidance for Territorial Authorities (TAs) and verifiers working under the Food Act 2014 – we’ve just published Practice Note 8 – Determining verification topic results and verification outcomes. This document sets out guidance for verifiers on determining appropriate verification topic results and how these contribute to a verification outcome.

This document draws on the content of the Food Act, practice recommended by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the current practice of a number of verification agencies. It has been developed in collaboration with multiple TAs, verification agencies and stakeholders within MPI. To access all Food Act Practice Notes, click here.