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What Impact Does the New Food Control Plan Have in Hospitality?
Any business that serves food to the public utilizes a food control template to help ensure they’re meeting standards for food safety as outlined in the Food Act of 2014. The Food Act was introduced to ensure food sold throughout New Zealand is safe to consume. The standards it provides focus on the processes of food production rather than where the food is prepared and served. What follows is a brief summary of the new food control plans (FCPs) introduced by the Food Act and how they affect various hospitality businesses.
The Food Act of 2014
Two major improvements or measures were introduced with this new food legislation:
- The creation of food control plans (FCPs), which are written templates for managing daily food production, mostly utilized by high-risk businesses.
- The creation of national programmes, designed for low and medium-risk businesses, which feature a set of food safety rules.
Businesses that fall under the national programmes category must register with a local council or MPI, meet food safety standards daily and keep records of inspections.
Food control plans do not change requirements for businesses; instead, they outline requirements in a more simplified fashion to make it easier to read and understand. What businesses already do to manage food safety remains the same.
Who is Affected?
MPI developed an easy-to-use online tool that business can use to determine where their food business falls within the new Food Act rules. The new rules are based on the type of food you make and prepare rather than where it is made. The tool will help businesses and restaurants determine whether they have to operate under a food control plan, a national programme, the Animal Products Act or the Wine Act.
Food Control Plan Details
FCPs help businesses identify and manage food safety risks and set procedures and standards for cleaning, maintaining food preparation equipment and make sure food is cooked to a proper temperature and stored correctly.
Businesses that retail, prepare and sell food to customers can use one of several food control plan templates available on MPI’s website. There’s a wealth of information there and several case studies that explain how food templates are used in cafes, breweries, restaurants, diners and other businesses that serve and prepare food for guests.
Impact for Hospitality Businesses
While all food distribution businesses must prepare food safely and responsibly to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers, some businesses are exempt from having to formally abide by a food control plan or national programme.
Food providers that only serve a small amount of guests (for instance, 10 people or less), typically don't have to follow a formal FCP or national programme. In addition, businesses that only sell food for fundraising purposes on occasion don’t need to abide by an FCP either.
Other businesses that require an FCP or national programme include:
- Food Trucks
- Food Delivery Services
- Retail Butcher
Any hospitality business that’s unsure of where they fit into the Food Act can visit MPI’s website and utilize their Where Do I Fit tool, which lets you enter the specific nature of your business. It then determines what category it falls into for food safety compliance. Food service businesses with an alcohol license must register by 31 March 2017, while those that only make or prepare food have until 31 March 2018.
In summary, the Food Act of 2014 ensures that all food distribution businesses in New Zealand are preparing, storing and cooking food correctly to safe temperatures. Having a set of standards keeps employees and customers safe and prevents widespread problems or health risks. MPI provides a comprehensive set of resources so hospitality businesses can determine what they need to do to follow existing regulations.
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