19 Jul 2019

Government says new food safety tools will save businesses money

10:01 am on 19 July 2019

The government has launched a set of new online tools it said could save small food businesses hundreds of dollars in compliance costs.

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Fine dining generic Photo: 123RF

Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor launched Remote Verification, My Food Rules and My Food Plan in Nelson today.

He said the three food safety tools were designed to make it faster and more affordable for food businesses to follow the rules and keep consumers safe.

Remote Verification (for remote food businesses), My Food Rules (an online business registration tool) and My Food Plan (a new custom food control plan) were built by New Zealand Food Safety and developed with input by food businesses, councils, and English as a second language customers.

Mr O'Connor said the remote verification tool would reduce the need for verifiers to travel around the country, which could save businesses between $200 and $1500 per visit.

My Food Rules was designed to help businesses find all the rules that applied to them, and help them tailor a plan that worked for them.

Mr O'Connor said that might include whether an owner needs to register their business, and the legislation that applied.

The deputy director-general, New Zealand Food Safety, Bryan Wilson said the remote verification system was operated via Skype.

"My Food Rules is the fastest and easiest way for food businesses to find out what food rules they need to follow - the right plan or programme, the right registration authority and the right verifier."

Mr Wilson said My Food Plan was an option for businesses which made high-risk foods and needed a plan that covered multiple Food Act registrations.

"This is a game-changer for food businesses, because instead of potentially spending up to $25,000 and up to nine months developing a custom plan from scratch, they can have a pre-evaluated My Food Plan that can be registered within 20 days," Mr Wilson said.