Food Control Plans ready for serving up now

Tuesday 22 July 2008, 10:15PM
By Lianne Dalziel

Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel today launched the off-the-peg Food Control Plan to provide an easy-to-follow food safety system for food service and catering businesses.

The Food Control Plan has been designed as one of a suite of tools under the proposed Food Bill. The Plan’s early release is designed to maintain the momentum built up after four years of consultation and preparation for the updated domestic food regulatory programme pending the Bill's introduction to Parliament.

The release of the Plan is being carried out in collaboration between the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and 44 local councils from around New Zealand. So far, another 10 councils have indicated interest in joining the programme later this year.

"The high number of councils that have voluntarily signed up to take part together with an indication from several others that they’re keen to join later in the year gives me confidence that we’re heading in the right direction," Lianne Dalziel said.

The Plan provides operators of cafés, restaurants, clubs, bars and catering businesses with a practical food safety management system for their business.

It’s made up of a series of information sheets covering each step in the food production/handling process.
It provides instruction for keeping food safe at each of those steps and lets operators know their obligations under the rules.
There’s also a diary where key actions can be recorded, as well as for documenting when things have gone wrong and how they were fixed.
The proposed system is a major shift from the current practice which relies on inspection to find breaches of the expected standards, to a culture of encouraging operators to take responsibility for the safety of their food product.
Over the next couple of months,

Environmental Health Officers from participating councils will be inviting business operators to register a Food Control Plan.
Operators who join the programme receive their own Food Control Plan as well as a range of supporting resources designed to reinforce key food safety messages.
The off-the-peg Plan will be made available free of charge to food operators to save them the expense of developing their own plan to show they are complying with the rules.
Lianne Dalziel advises consumers to look out for businesses displaying a window sticker or certificate showing they have a Food Control Plan.

"Consumers can have confidence that a business with a Food Control Plan has a proactive approach to producing safe food and has the right measures in place to address the risks that need to be managed.

"In turn, we expect this to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses which will of course be good for consumers and good for business," Lianne Dalziel said.

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