Bill to streamline Food Safety passes first reading

  • Jo Goodhew
Food Safety

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming the Food Safety Law Reform Bill having passed its first reading in Parliament last night, with unanimous support.

The Bill is the final step in implementing the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Inquiry recommendations, in particular those which require legislative change.

“This Bill is an important part of putting the false Botulism scare behind us. It illustrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and suitability of food, which is vitally important for the health of consumers – both in New Zealand and overseas – and our international trade reputation,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Food and beverage exports account for 60% of our merchandise exports, generating $27 billion of export income in 2015 and employing nearly 80,000 people. It is vital that we do all we can to protect our reputation as a supplier of safe and suitable food, both domestically and internationally, by ensuring all steps have been taken to address the recommendations of the independent inquiry.

The Bill standardises enforcement tools from the recently passed Food Act through into the Animal Products and Wine Acts. This will mean that regulators have similar tools available to encourage behaviour change and deal swiftly with operators who do not comply. The changes include:

  • Strengthening risk-based plans, which are the foundation of our food safety system, by ensuring key parts of the plans are supplied to the regulator for registration.
  • Strengthening the framework for food product traceability, enabling the use of systems that both producers and the regulators know will work.

“I welcome the opportunity for New Zealanders to have their say on this Bill, when the Primary Production Committee begins accepting submissions in the next few weeks,” Mrs Goodhew says.