The Food Safety Law Reform Bill that is currently before the Select Committee includes the following changes relevant to United Fresh Members.
The Bill provides the regulations to set the traceability and recall requirements that are essential to Food Safety maintenance and New Zealand’s reputation in the food industry. The Bill improves the design of the delegated legislation by removing duplication and providing for best practice use of regulations and notices. It also improves the statutory powers available for responses to Food Safety incidents by enhancing the Director-General’s authority when there is a serious risk to public health. This includes requesting all relevant Food Safety and Traceability information from persons who trade food.
Furthermore, it requires a food importer to have procedures and processes in place to comply with the record-keeping requirements of the Food Act 2014 in relation to the traceability of imported food.
It specifically identifies the requirements of traceability and recall systems for three areas of Food Control Plans (FCP) and National Programmes (NP). All persons that trade in food must:
Have in place procedures to trace and recall food (procedures must be included in their FCP or NP).
Have implemented the procedures to trace and recall food.
Conduct simulations or other tests of those procedures for tracing
and recalling food.
In the Amendments to Food Act 2014, it is required that the FCP or NP needs to comply with the requirements of the Act and must be submitted for registration in a form acceptable to the appropriate registration authority.
The other change relates to a few food sectors that are subject to FCP are re-categorised. These are:
In summary, the traceability and recall requirements in relation to the Food Act are being strengthened, with details on how to improve food product traceability provided.
The strengthening of traceability is highly relevant to the produce industry. We can expect to see greater MPI focus in this area in 2017.