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26 October 2017

Template changeover

The Simply Safe & Suitable template was designed to be a user friendly food control plan for food businesses and to address some of the concerns we'd heard about the December 2015 template. The feedback we've received from you and businesses shows it’s been well received.

Since we launched Simply Safe & Suitable it has run alongside the detailed, longer food service and food retail template. However, we're hearing having two templates in operation is causing confusion. 

We're now working on phasing out the food service and food retail template in favour of Simply Safe & Suitable. This template contains all the legal requirements for the Food Act and will have increased guidance with the new Toolbox resource. 

We're looking at options for a date to phase out the older template. Our aim is that people will be able to keep using it until they need to re-register or make a significant amendment. However, from the changeover date, new businesses will need to use Simply Safe & Suitable. We will keep you updated on the rollout plan.

In the meantime, when businesses need a template plan you might like to sign them up to Simply Safe & Suitable.

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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.

National Toolbox workshop invitation

You may have heard on Monday 30 October we're holding a workshop to show and test the resources for the new Food Safety Toolbox for template food control plan businesses.

The workshop is open to everyone, including all council officers and verifiers, and is being held to come to the event at the Sofitel, Wellington in Bolton St.  The workshop runs 10am to 4pm and you're welcome to drop in at any time.

Please register through this Eventbrite link.

The Toolbox is guidance for Simply Safe & Suitable businesses and can also be used by businesses on other plans and programmes.

As you know we've been testing the resources extensively with food businesses and adjusting as we go along. We 'll be showing the posters, the allergen card game, record forms, new videos and podcasts, just to mention a few things. We really want your input about how you think the resources will work in your area, and how you could use them to educate food businesses about the direction of the new Act.

For verifiers we want to build tools that will help you verify food businesses so we really want your input.

We'd love to have a wide representation of council officers and verifiers from around the country. We look forward to talking to you at the event!



IMPORTANT information

Test National Programme guidance available

Test versions of the guidance for National Programmes 1,2 and 3 are now available on our website.

The guidance should help clarify requirements for national programme businesses and verifiers of NP businesses. If businesses choose to follow the guidance, they'll be making safe and suitable food and meeting the requirements of the Food Act.

Throughout October we're continuing to design the way the guidance works and we'd love to hear your views about how we best do that. 

We're looking at how to help businesses to:
1. Know what applies to them
2. Easily apply it to the way they work.

Let us know how we can make this guidance easy to use.

Please email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz or can you talk to us directly about it at the workshop on 30 October. Either way, we welcome your views.

Workshops ahead

Thanks for your great response to our call to co-host workshops for year two businesses that need to transition to the Food Act by 31 March 2018.

Councils we'll be co-hosting with in the next two months include:

Otorohanga (with Waitomo and Waipa)
18 October 2017, 10am to 12pm, Waitomo District Council, Les Milne Centre

18 October 2017, 2pm to 4pm, Otorohanga Kiwi House

19 October 2017, 10am to 12pm, Sir Don Rowlands Centre, Waipa

19 October 2017, 2pm to 4pm, Te Awamutu Chambers, Waipa District Council

Thames Coromandel
25 October 2017, Thames Civic Centre, 200 Mary Street, Thames

26 October 2017, 9:30am to 11:30am, Mercury Bay Service Centre, 10 Monk Street, Whitianga

30 October 2017,  Richmond Library Conference Room, 280 Queen Street, Richmond

To be confirmed (week of 13 November 2017)

Workshop planning is also underway for other places around the country. If you'd like to co-host a workshop for year two businesses with us, please contact foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

QUICK tips

Tick the box for deemed business

We're pleased to say that the number of businesses registering for year two of the Food Act are on track. We're over halfway to the estimated 10-12,000 businesses we expect to register.

Businesses in the Voluntary Implementation Programme (VIP) or operating under Food Safety Programmes are called deemed FCP businesses. While they don't need to register until 30 November 2018, it many of them are registering early.

To make sure we can identify these early registrations, there's a tick box in the MAPS called Deemed FCP.

When you or your staff enter a registration for a VIP or FSP businesses, please make sure you tick the Deemed FCP box (please don't tick this box for businesses transitioning from the Food Hygiene regulations). That way we can accurately track early registrations of deemed FCP businesses.

Another important tip is when registering a VIP business in MAPS, the VIP portal for the business must be updated. The termination reason 'Transitioned to the FA2014’, should be selected.

Thanks for your help.

Record keeping requirements for ECEs

A few ECEs have questioned the level of record keeping they've been asked to do and wondering if it is too rigorous. If you are verifying an ECE centre, there are recording sheets and guidelines for centres to prepare for their verification visit on the ECE page on our website (see Step 3 Keep Food Safety records). The new national programme guidance is also currently in testing (see above). As it evolves this guidance should clarify the record keeping needed for National Programme 2 businesses. We welcome your feedback on the guidance and the recond keeping areas.

When is a business new or existing?

It's important to know whether a food business is new or existing, because this determines its verification frequency. In answer to some questions we've received, an existing business is one that existed on 29 February and continued to operate after that date. 

A new food business must not exist before 29 February 2016 and it starts operating on or after 1 March 2016.

Some examples of these definitions are:

  • An ECE in existence on 29 February 2016 that was not previously registered under the food regime - existing business
  • Adding a mobile shop to an existing business on or after 1 March 2016 - the mobile shop may be either a significant amendment to an existing business or a new business depending on whether the mobile shop is a new site in a multi-site registration (significant amendment – requiring onsite verification for the new place of business as for a new business) or a stand-alone registration (new business)
    • A business in existence on 29 February 2016 that started a completely new or different activity on or after 1 March 2016 – significant amendment to an existing  business
  • A business that ceased operating before 1 March 2016 and then started operating again or after 1 March 2016 - if the business stopped operating for more than a year and then reopened, it is a new business.

You can also post your queries to the Food Act Regulators Forum on LinkedIn so that other co-regulators can provide their input and help reach a common understanding and consistency in these decisions.


Improving the customer registration journey

This year around 10-12,000 food businesses need to register under the Food Act 2014 and, as you'll know, they're a diverse range covering food service and retail as well as manufacturers.

As part of our plan to communicate better with them, we're looking at ways the online registration journey could be easier. We currently provide tools on the MPI website that are popular such as the ‘Where Do I Fit’ tool, and the ‘Digitool’ for customising the ‘Simply Safe and Suitable’ template Food Control Plan.

We’re now looking to enhance, expand and integrate these tools, to help food businesses throughout more of the journey. We will keep you informed as the work progresses.

Allergens list to include lupins

We're currently working on adding lupins to the allergens list in the template food control plan (Separating food, p33 and Knowing what's in your food, p67). This will bring the FCP list of allergens to 11.

Lupin flour is sometimes found in gluten-free products. We will release some guidance soon outlining what lupin is and where you find it.

We'll let you know when the guidance is available.

In the meantime, if you're interested in brushing up on allergens, do come to the 30 October Wellington workshop and help test the new allergens card game - it's both educational and fun!