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30 May 2017

Verifier workshop on offer

MPI’s Sarah Cockburn is currently offering a 2 -3 hour workshop for verifiers across the country. The workshop will focus on honing your interpersonal skills during verification i.e. helping to put yourself in the shoes of the business. If you’d like to take up the offer in your region, please contact our local government team: Maggie, Damien or Tanya or email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

Is everyone getting Food News?

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

You can forward to colleagues and subscribe using the links in the green banner at the top of the newsletter.

Your registration numbers needed

As you know, food businesses who needed to apply to register by 31 March 2017, now have to be registered by 30 June 2017. After this date, formal action will be taken.

To help assess where we are with registrations, we’d like to know if you have any unprocessed applications still waiting. Our local government team will be contacting you for help with this question. We really appreciate your help with developing an accurate national picture of registrations as we count down to 30 June.


Template translations available

We're pleased to say that translations of the popular Simply Safe and Suitable Template Food Control Plan are on the way. The Plan is being translated into Traditional Chinese, Simplied Chinese, Korean, Thai, Hindi, Vietnamese and Cambodian.

If you'd like to order copies of any of these translations please email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz. Please specify the language/s you'd like and the quantity and provide your name and delivery address. We will provide this first print run free of charge but are likely to have to apply cost recovery principles to subsequent runs.

FARF Highlights

The Food Act Regulators Forum held their third meeting on 4 May.

Here's a quick summary of the main agenda items:


  • MPI has to report progress against the expected number of first year registrations to the Minister. But we can only report what is in MAPS – MPI asked FARF the best way to get numbers for applications received by councils but not yet processed (without adding to council workload too much). FARF suggested a request to Councils from the LGL team (and that most Councils will be expecting this kind of request).

Communication approaches:

  • While FARF continues to explore how communication can be improved it was agreed that in the meantime the 3 main channels are Food News (official source of information), and both LinkedIn and NZIEH forums for open discussions.

Work programme:

  • National Outcomes: Judith Robertson is leading work on ideas for what councils should have in place to successfully implement the Food Act and how these can be measured as being achieved.

QMS Assessment:

  • Ian Shaw and Mervyn Chetty are working on information to help when developing a QMS – in particular, what to be prepared for during an assessment, what things people commonly get wrong, what things might not be as difficult as they look.

The next FARF meeting is on 29 June 2017.

Appropriate verification for ECE Centres

Recently we’ve heard of cases where ECE Centres are being subject to higher standards of verification than needed (for example requiring them to use cleaning products containing bleach when regular cleaning with the off-shelf-products will meet food safety requirements, or requiring a commercial dishwasher be installed when a domestic one, or even washing by hand, will achieve the same food safety outcome).

If you're verifying an ECE Centre, it’s important to remember they come under National Programme 2, not a Food Control Plan - it's more important that there are lots of ways to achieve a food safety outcome and to be open to these. We will be publishing further guidance for national programme businesses in July that will help you clarify verification approaches.

New Food Safety laws

Recently we gazetted a few changes to the Food Safety laws, which will be coming into force on 1 July. Most people won't need to change anything -  just to keep making safe and suitable food.

Key changes that you need to know are:

• If a new business has registered and something unusual has happened and/or where a new business has registered but not yet started trading, you now have discretion to extend the due date for verification by up to 6 weeks. We'd like your views about what a special circumstance might be and have posted this topic on the LinkedIn and NZIEH forums for discussion. This will help us provide guidelines for the changes. We welcome your feedback.

• For verifiers, some changes will reduce requirements for record keeping, maintenance, cleaning and protection of food during transportation. Theses changes will appear in national programme 1 and national programme 2 (ECE providers and retailers). Also, if you use a technical expert during verification, you will need to provide their name and information about their competency in your verification report.

Information about the changes is on our website

We'll also gazette some changes to Notices on 1 June. An important feature of the changes will be information about which processes are allowed under a national programme, and which are excluded. This change will also come into force on 1 July. We’ll have more information about it in the next Food News.

Science behind sous vide temperatures

This March we put out a new Food Control Plan template that included a section on cooking using the sous vide method. The method outlined in the template sets a minimum cooking temperature of 55°C for red meat and 60°C for poultry. These changes were based on an international scientific review, which we asked ESR to conduct, to determine what scientific evidence was available to support sous vide cooking of meat, poultry, seafood and eggs at temperatures below 55°C.  The report concluded that there was little scientific evidence to support the safe cooking of these foods at or below 55°C.

The report is available to read at Review of Microbial Pathogen Inactivation Relevant to Sous Vide Cooking at Temperatures below 55°C” (scroll down to the 6th report)

You may be also be interested in the ESR report on the standardisation of parameters for pathogen control when cooking raw meats in the D and Z values report.

Hard questions answered

A reminder that previous decisions around some of the trickier 'where do I fit' questions are answered here:

Where do I fit? hard questions answered

The document is also available to download from this page.


Toolkit for the Simply Safe & Suitable template

We are continuing to develop tools to help businesses implement their Food Control Plan. You may have attended our recent workshop where some really great ideas were generated and thank you for your contribution!

We plan to put all of the tool ideas in one booklet for businesses to use. We are also creating physical tools such as an allergen card game to teach which foods the common allergens are found in and posters to remind businesses of some of the Dos in the template. We hope to release and test tools that relate to the top 5 Food Safety tips over about a month and allow businesses to give feedback on if they use them and find them helpful. If you have any other ideas for tools which you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz .