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10 July 2018

Invitation: Food Safety Tools Launch

It’s launch time! We invite you to join MPI’s New Zealand Food Safety team on 19 July in Wellington. At 12pm that day, Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor is set to launch three new resources that will help support food safety practices in food and wine businesses. We are thrilled to be introducing the Food Safety Toolkit, new Wine Standards Management Plan (Food Safety Template for Winemakers) and Simply Safe & Suitable template Food Control Plan update, which have been co-designed with TAs, verifiers and businesses.

When: Thursday, July 19 at 11:30am – 7pm

Location: Prefab Hall, 14 Jessie Street, Te Aro, Wellington

At the event, you can hear how the Toolkit will be distributed and how to use the tools in it when communicating with food businesses about how to make safe and suitable food. At the launch, you can can pick up a copy of the Toolkit and Templates.

There will be free masterclasses (1pm, 3:30pm and 6pm) where we will demonstrate how to use the Templates and the Toolkit in a business.

Members of our team will be at the event from 11:30am to 7pm to showcase and talk about the products and to answer your questions. So you have opportunities to have some quality question and answer time with the team.

To RSVP for the launch and/or to sign up to a masterclass session, head to our Facebook event or email us at foodact.2014@mpi.govt.nz For more details, click here.

Check Out New Academy Add-ins

We have recently added new videos (Multi-media category) to the Food Verifiers Academy and have been extending the directories section with new training providers and a Practice Notes directory.

We are also adding a Useful Articles directory so please, if you have come across an article, be it of a technical nature or related to a professional practice matter that you found useful, send us the details so others can learn and benefit from your discovery.

Thanks to everyone who attended meetings around the country and provided their comments on the proposed Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme for Verifiers. Using your input to guide us, work has commenced on the next draft of the programme model.

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

Evaluation of Deemed FCPs

We have now granted a ‘class exemption’ from on-site evaluation for deemed Food Control Plan (FCP) businesses. This is a conditional exemption and the details can be seen here.

Deemed FCP businesses that have made no changes to their operation since their last verification and are applying for a custom FCP no longer require on-site evaluation. This is because the only changes required to their FCP by Food Act 2014 are in the FCP document itself. Therefore, a desktop evaluation is sufficient to ensure that the plan meets the requirements of the Act, and that it is still ‘fit for purpose’.

Please remember, safety and suitability of food is our primary concern. Issues around formatting and terminology are not important, unless these have safety implications. The nature of the risk posed by a business’ activities should also be a factor – the greater the risk, the more the scrutiny that might be needed (and vice-versa).

It’s also important to remember that FCPs can be constructed many different ways and still meet the requirements of the Act. For instance; there is no requirement for a dedicated risk management section (and no specific requirement for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points/HACCP). Hazards just need to be clearly identified and controlled within the plan.


IMPORTANT Information

Welcome to Titiro

We’re excited to announce that Titiro – our new system to capture verification activities and enforcement outcomes has been launched! 

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been running ‘show and tell’ workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and holding individual Skype sessions for those who weren’t able to attend. 

You’ll find changes to MPI’s Working as a Verifier and Food Safety Officer web pages. You’ll also find the Titiro guides and the application form to become a Titiro user – click here.

Please note – monthly reports of verification activity and enforcement outcomes for July 2018 are due in Titiro by Tuesday, 14 August 2018.

For any questions about Titiro, contact us at titiro.support@mpi.govt.nz

Market Guidance

MPI has developed market guidance to help market stall operators work out if they need to be registered or not. This guidance shows examples of when a market stall would be exempt from registration, when an operator might want to consider applying for exemption, and provides some examples of the type of registration required for some common market activities.

We hope that it will be a useful resource to provide to your markets and welcome any ideas for improvement. For a copy of the market guidance, click here. If you would like to provide feedback about the guidance, contact damien.cleland@mpi.govt.nz.

Acceptable Delivery Temperatures for Businesses

We understand that some businesses are being instructed by their verifiers that they must reject any chilled food that is not being delivered at 5°C or less. This has been a particular issue around the delivery of milk.

It is not correct that all chilled food must be received at 5°C or less.

Milk (or any other chilled food) can still be accepted if it is at more than 5°C when delivered, if:
• it is received at an alternative temperature specified by the manufacturer, or
• it can be demonstrated that it still complies with the 2 hour/4 hour rule on page 40 of the Simply Safe & Suitable template.

It is not a coincidence that we have used milk in the above example. Many milk suppliers are operating to a Risk Management Programme under the Animal Products Act that allow storage and delivery of milk at temperatures above 5°C (often around 6-7°C).

We are confident that nothing in the Food Act 2014, Food Regulations 2015 or Food Notices (including either of the current templates) contradicts the temperature requirements for dairy products approved under the Animal Products Act (both templates allow for manufacturers/suppliers to specify the safe storage temperature for their foods).


Introducing the Food Safety Toolkit

The Food Safety Toolkit is an interactive package of guidance, made up of posters, magnets, card game, food safety magazine, plus targeted online material that complement the food safety messages in food control plan and national programme templates.

The Toolkit focusses on some of the most important food safety messages (for example, staff training, washing your hands, separating food, allergy awareness, temperature control, cleaning, record keeping and when things go wrong).

Co-designed with businesses, the Toolkit has been built to quickly relay and prompt good food safety and suitability practices amongst staff, and supports a food business’ staff training programme. The tools and messages in it are fun, bold and easy to understand. These are also designed to be customised so that a food business can use the Toolkit in a way that suits their staff and way of working.

It’s important for businesses to know that the Toolkit is not a legal requirement. The rules that a business must follow are outlined in their plan.

Following the 19 July launch event, a Toolkit will be sent to every existing registered template Food Control Plan business in the country. In the near future, each Territorial Authority will be sent a stock of Toolkits to provide free to local businesses who register a template Food Control Plan. MPI will be also be providing information material and training to verifiers on the Toolkit.

There will also be online information sources available, like videos, podcasts and more detailed technical guidance. For more information go to www.mpi.govt.nz/foodsafety-toolkit

The Toolkit is constantly evolving and developing. Please send us your ideas to improve the Toolkit to foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz with ‘Attn Buddy’ in the subject line.

Fast-track Recognition for National Programme Verifiers

We are pleased to let you know that there are now 22 agencies and 89 verifiers that have been recognised under the 'fast-track recognition process'. This means that agencies and persons can verify National Programme Generic, Limited Food Service, Retail & Logistics or Horticulture, depending what they have been recognised for right now.

One of the conditions of the 'fast-track recognition' is that verifiers must be 'peer reviewed'. The objective is for verifiers to have an opportunity to exchange knowledge and approaches, and for them to identify anything they may need to adjust in order to be ready for full witness assessment.

Over the last few months we have had 11 experienced, fully-assessed recognised persons peer review fast-track verifiers. They accompanied verifiers on the job and provided feedback after the verification. A large number of these peer reviews have now been completed, with a few still underway.

The feedback we have had to date from peer-reviewed verifiers has been great. Most found the peer-review process useful and would recommend it to others. Quite a few found the comments and observations helpful and said they would do things differently at their next verification. Most importantly, the reports which we have received to date indicate that a large number of verifiers are ready to be witness assessed.

This is great timing for councils who either have had their Quality Management System (QMS) reviewed or currently are having it reviewed. Once your QMS has been reviewed and your verifiers are ready for witness assessment, we encourage you to touch base with us at foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz so that we can arrange a full assessment.

HAVE Your Say

Consultation: Simply Safe & Suitable Update

As mentioned in the 13 June Food News, we are updating the Simply Safe & Suitable template Food Control Plan. Please let us know what you think via this online consultation. Make sure you have your say before 5pm, 12 July 2018.

Consultation: Wine Standards Management Plan

Have your say on the new Wine Standards Management Plan (WSMP). The New Zealand wine industry and MPI are developing the 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 Food Act 2014 and Wine Act 2003 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 keep using the current codes of practice, or use the new template. Check out this video that explains how the new WSMP works.

We need your feedback to let us know if the WSMP is easy to understand and use. You can provide feedback on the template via an online survey from this consultation page. The consultation closes 5pm, 13 July 2018.

Consultation: Section 40 Applications for Horticulture

With the upcoming deadline for existing businesses in the horticulture sector to register and operate under Food Act 2014, three food safety schemes have been submitted for approval.

As template Food Control Plans (FCPs) under section 40 of the Food Act, MPI has evaluated plans for GLOBALGAP, New Zealand Good Agricultural Practice (NZGAP) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for horticultural operators, to ensure these meet the requirements of the Food Act and allow for businesses in the horticulture sector to produce and trade safe and suitable food. Open shortly, via our Consultations page, we invite you to have your say on the three FCP applications.


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 29 May to 31 August 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.

Local councils are invited to join us at their local event. Coming up in August are:
• Tuesday, 21 August: Matamata Civic Centre, 11 Tainui St, Matamata. 4.30pm
• Wednesday, 22-23 August: 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 new MPI video to target small food businesses and prospective food businesses.