17 Apr 2010

Crackdown on sale of home-made food at market

5:15 pm on 17 April 2010

The Kapiti Coast's deputy mayor, Ann Chapman, hopes a meeting next week will settle the issue of who is entitled to sell home-made food at an Otaki market.

Under updated food hygiene rules the district council has cracked down on the Otaki Womens' Community Club craft market, stipulating that only charities or vendors whose entire proceeds go to a charity are allowed to prepare the food they sell in their own kitchens.

The council's manager for assets and services, Gary Simpson, says all others must have registered kitchens, no matter what their size. This, he says, is to guard against outbreaks of illness.

But the market's convenor Sherryl Gray, who describes the new decree as a kick in the guts, says the cost of setting up a commercial kitchen is prohibitive.

She says the cooks are furious because their food, such as cakes and preserves, has never generated a complaint. She also says the market has given $63,000 to community causes since 1996.

Similar venture allowed last year

The council is standing by its decision, saying that food sellers and market operators need to be made more accountable. Mrs Chapman says a public meeting will be held next Friday, but she would also like to call for a private meeting.

Last year, a charity jam-making venture by a woman in Northland was threatened in a similar manner but officials then bent the rules to allow it to go ahead.

Otaki's home cooks are hopeful their case may go the same way after next Friday's meeting.