Food Bill Protects Kiwiana

Tuesday 11 October 2011, 4:29PM
By NZ Food & Grocery Council

Calls for exempting home gardeners, food barterers and sellers at farmers markets from the vital responsibility of providing safe food fail to take into account what the Bill actually states, says Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

"During the Select Committee process significant amendments were made to accommodate a number of traditional Kiwi food activities such as "bring a plate", the school "sausage sizzle", sharing homegrown vegetables or making jams for the local fair.

"Many changes were made in the Bill to ensure these activities were not caught by regulation more suited to larger commercial food producers.

"However, changes can only go so far. Good law can't let smaller food producers off the hook if they sell dodgy food and poison people.

"While regulators can reduce the requirements for these activities, they can't exempt food producers from the responsibility of providing safe food.

"This is the key issue. Gardeners sharing or bartering food are not required to jump onerous administrative hurdles, but they are required to follow common sense principles and sell safe food.

"Kiwis rely on government regulation to ensure safe food. Contrary to recent claims the Food Bill protects these iconic Kiwi activities.

"Horticultural producers selling or bartering food they have grown are clearly covered by Schedule 3 of the Bill and are not subject to any onerous requirements, Mrs Rich said.