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10 May 2017

New video case study

We've published a new video case study. The video shows how a small brewery meets their obligations under the Food Act.

We are working on creating more videos at the moment. In addition to case studies, this will include videos to help businesses with key food safety practices. Watch this space.  

As always, please share the latest video on your networks!

Funk Estate's story - food safety at our brewery

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.

Changes to allergens in the template food control plan

We mentioned in the last few newsletters that upcoming changes to allergens in the food standards code will require us to make a change to the template food control plan. We'd like to clarify that this will not mean revoking the plan. We will issue this change as an update to the current plans.

More details about the change, transition and timing will be coming soon.


Dealing with businesses that don't register on time

MPI has put together some guidance around how to deal with businesses that don't register, or re-register, on time. We've already had feedback on this from many of you. For those who haven't seen it yet, please take a look and let us know what you think. Would this process work for you? We hope this will help to create consistency around the country.

Please send your feedback to Mike: Michael.Webster@mpi.govt.nz

Download the guide: Managing re-registration and transition of food businesses

Verifier and evaluator - online training

A new online training module for evaluators is now ready and joins the new verifier module that was released a few weeks ago. The module works through all aspects of evaluating a food control plan. If you are an approved evaluator – or thinking of applying - we encourage you to log on and complete the new module.

Similarly if you are a verifier (or deemed verifier) under the Food Act  and haven't yet completed MPI's online training modules, please do! These modules are really helpful for everyone verifying under the new Act - even if you've been doing the job for many years.

We will also be holding some workshops for verifiers soon, so please make sure you complete the online modules first.

Sign up to the online training here

Scope of operations

We know that businesses are still finding the scope of operations form difficult. We will be reviewing the form, and how to best get this information from businesses, later this year. To help with the review, we'd like you to let us know what would work better.

If you don’t know yet, how about trying some new ways and seeing what works best? Did you know the scope of operations form isn’t mandatory – councils don’t have to use it. But you do need to capture the information about what the business does and enter it into MAPS. If councils are already using different methods to capture that information, please do share them with us and other councils.

Please share ideas on LinkedIn or Health Protect, or email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz


Health protect forum

A number of council staff use the NZIEH Health Protect forum regularly to discuss issues related to the Food Act. MPI will try to post all discussions on Health Protect as well as LinkedIn. For those who do not work for councils - anyone can apply for associate membership for NZIEH. So, if you'd like to be able to follow discussions on this forum, you can. 

Registering more than one national programme business

MPI has had a number of questions recently from operators wanting to register more than one business under the same registration, on a national programme. We've been working with our legal team to find out if they can do this.

The answer is that an individual cannot register more than one business under a national programme, unless they operate under a single parent company. I.e. they must either be:

  • A single company with multiple sites, or
  • A single parent company with multiple businesses.


Where do greengrocers fit?

There have been a few questions about where greengrocers fit in the Food Act recently. As with other retailers, this will depend on what they do.

Retailers who sell fruit and vegetables fit under national programme 3 - a retailer that handles food. Under this, they can also go beyond minimal processing to cut and wrap produce for example.

If they want to do more (such as making fruit salads) need to work under a food control plan. If they're a retailer, they can use the template.  

There are some cases where selling fruit and vegetables is exempt from registration:

If the retailer sells food they have grown themselves, they are exempt from registration. A reason for this is that the own-grower has a direct link to the consumer, who can ask them how they have grown the produce, what sprays they've applied, etc.

A stall selling pre-packaged fruit and veg can do so as a retailer of shelf-stable manufacturer pre-packaged food. No national programme or food control plan is required. 

Hard questions answered

A reminder that previous decisions around some of the trickier 'where do I fit' questions (including the greengrocer example above) are answered here:

Where do I fit? hard questions answered

The document is also available to download from this page.


Where do I fit - possible changes

We are exploring changes to the Where do I fit? tool to help businesses know whether they can use a template food control plan, or need to create a custom plan. This was discussed yesterday at the Food Act Regulators Forum. If we can make the changes work, they'll be coming soon. 

They key question for businesses is - do they sell directly to the final consumer. Those who do - whether in food service or retail - will likely be able to use the template. Those who sell primarily to other businesses will need to create a custom plan.

National programme guidance - July

At the last Food Act Regulators Forum (on 28 April), it was agreed that the new national programme guidance would be published by 1 July. This will coincide with the updated regulations and notices coming into effect. This will make sure the guidance reflects what businesses need to do to comply with a national programme on an ongoing basis.

Templates on their way

We've posted all councils 15 copies of the new template food control plan - simply safe and suitable. These are for you to use and share with your team. We are looking into more ways of providing printed copies cheaply - and will keep you posted on this.  


Bye and thank you from Naomi

I'm sad to say I will be leaving MPI this week to head off to the UK. I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone I've worked with. The Food Act has been a challenging and rewarding project to work on, and I will miss it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce Mary Macpherson, who will take over communications for the Food Act.

You can contact her on: mary.macpherson@mpi.govt.nz

Verification initiatives

Annette Dow has recently joined the MPI team to work on verification initiatives, including the establishment of a Verifiers Academy. She has been speaking with a sample of people from Councils which have been through the process to become a recognised agency under the Food Act 2014.

The areas Annette is exploring include:

  • The verifiers competency framework
  • Training for potential and recognised verifiers
  • The Key Technical Person model
  • Resources to assist with the selection and training of verifiers, the recognition process and ongoing development of verifiers
  • The challenges you and your team face working under the requirements and expectations of the risk-based approach

You can contact Annette on: Annette.Dow@mpi.govt.nz