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11 April 2017

Newsletter changes

Some of you have asked that we more clearly highlight information that is really important, or requires action. If you'd like to see a different structure to the newsletter - or suggest other ways we could do this - feel free to suggest ideas. One thing we could do is to start every newsletter with a 'take action now' section, like we've done below? Just reply to this email if you have suggestions.   

National programme guidance: update

We promised that new national programme guidance would be available early this year. We're really sorry that this has been delayed. We've had to re-prioritise some other things (like the fast-track verification process, which we'll tell you about below). But we are making progress, and all three guides should be out soon.  

Missed the deadline? What now?

Now that the deadline to register has passed - we'll be doing some communication to let businesses know what could happen if they don't register. We'll be letting businesses know that there is some leeway - but that they could be fined if they leave it too long.

This is the message we've posted on our website


Fast track for national programmes

We've put together a fast track process to help more people get recognised to verify national programmes. The process is open to councils and existing third party agencies. It will be especially useful for councils who have not started the recognition process, and NZ GAP auditors who want to verify the horticulture sector. 

All agencies and verifiers still need to show they are qualified to do the job and have a quality management system in place. But they will not need to have their QMS or witness assessments until after they are recognised. This should help speed up the process and reduce the up-front costs.

A fast track process was one of the solutions you helped us to identify to increase the number of national programme verifiers. We also investigated automatic recognition for some groups, but the law does not allow us to do this. We have tried to reduce the barriers as much as possible within the legal requirements, and will also offer additional help to anyone who needs it. Just let us know.

More details on the MPI website


Changing Risk-Based Measure level in MAPS

MAPS currently prevents standard users (MPI or council) from changing the 'risk-based measure' category within a registration.

A change from FCP to NP (or vice versa) should be treated as a new registration. This means the business will need to surrender their current registration and apply for a new one.

However, changing between NP levels does not require a new registration. If you need to change NP level (for example if a business moves from NP1 to NP3), you can email MAPS.Support@mpi.govt.nz to request this.

MPI is considering removing the restriction to allow standard users (including councils) to change between NP levels themselves. Any feedback on this would be welcome.


Translations of the template FCP

Translations of the Simply Safe and Suitable template food control plan are on their way! Initially, we are having the plan translated into Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean and Thai. We expect to have these back from the translation service in one month (they will then just need some final checks before release).

We are likely to also get translations in Hindi, Vietnamese and Cambodian once these are complete. At the same time, we will also be translating guidance for food importers.

If there is anything else you think we need to translate, or any other languages you think we should be considering, please let us know.


Helping businesses update their plan

What have we done?

We've now contacted most businesses on a template food control plan to tell them about the updates they need to make. Some councils told us they would prefer to contact businesses themselves - so we haven't contacted businesses in these regions.

What still needs to be done?

We have not yet contacted those who registered or renewed after 1 March 2017. We will be contacting you by email about those cases.  

Why no update pack?

S39 templates, published as a notice, are now legal instruments. This means they can't be dealt with in the same way as templates introduced through the VIP programme. They must exactly reflect the legal template, even if the changes made are minor corrections or typos.  

The template is a living document and will need to be updated from time to time, and businesses will be asked to keep their template up to date. But in the future, we will try to group changes and amend rather than replace templates wherever possible – so that we can minimise changes that businesses have to make.


Developing the toolkit

Thanks to everyone who helped us design food safety resources at our workshop last week, and to those of you who passed the invite on to businesses. About 40 businesses, councils and MPI staff showed up, in spite of the poor weather. Some great ideas came out of the day – including a card game that helps train staff, instructional videos that explain why food safety is important and an online community forum for food businesses to share ideas about how to make safe food. 

This week we’ve been creating further tools that make it easier for businesses to keep records, and designing a booklet that provides hints and tips on how to create a food safety culture. 

Next steps are to produce and test these tools, so we can see what works and what we should scrap. We will also be expanding the digital tool that helps people create their personalised template. We want it to choose the tools that businesses need (including records) and let them order a hard copy from a print company.

Please let us know if you would like us to test the toolkit with you and your businesses.


Improving how we work together

A big priority for MPI at the moment is getting communication right. We'll be coming to discuss things in person over the next few weeks, to check whether we are giving you the right information at the right time.

We have heard that some of you are concerned about timing of information. MPI's approach to Food Act Implementation is to be responsive - to listen to businesses, find out what's not working, and make changes. This sometimes means we make changes or request information at short notice. We think it's important to continue being responsive, but we also understand that this can cause difficulties for co-regulators and verifiers. We want to improve how we manage this, by working more closely with our co-regulators to make decisions.

If you have suggestions about how we could improve things, or communicate more effectively, please let us know.