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Food safety: Is your business high or low risk?

If you make or sell food, a handy new tool can help you find out what the Food Act 2014, coming in next year, will mean for your business.

The new Food Act could mean changes for your business if you make or sell food. To help you work out where you fit in with the changes, a new online tool Where Do I Fit? (external link) is available from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The Food Act covers businesses that make, serve, sell or trade food commercially.

The main difference with the new Food Act is that there will be a sliding scale of risk, unlike the old Food Act and its one-size-fits-all approach to food safety.

The main difference with the new Food Act is that there will be a sliding scale of risk, unlike the old Food Act and its one-size-fits-all approach to food safety.

So, if you’re a meat pie manufacturer or a corner dairy that sells reheated meat pies, you’ll have different food safety responsibilities.

Under the new law, businesses that have a higher risk, such as meat, dairy and fish product manufacturers, or those serving food in restaurants and rest homes, will have tougher safety requirements.

Lower-risk businesses include those selling packaged food, serving hot drinks or making honey.

By answering a series of yes/no questions, you can find out what you'll need to do to comply with the law.

By answering a series of yes/no questions, you can find out what you'll need to do to comply with the law.

Use the new online tool Where Do I Fit? (external link)

Whether you sell food at the school canteen, grow fruit and vegetables for sale, run a B&B, bake bread or any other business type that deals in food products, the Where Do I Fit? tool can guide you through the process.

It will tell you if you’re likely to have to follow a food control plan, a national programme or be exempt, and whether there is any overlap with other laws, such as the Animal Products Act.

The Food Act comes into force on 1 March 2016, but existing businesses don’t have to meet the new rules immediately. They will transition in groups over a staggered three-year period from 1 March 2016 to 28 February 2019.

Transition timetable (external link) - Ministry of Primary Industries

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