Food Act 2014                                                                                                           

NZGAP certification enables growers to achieve both market access and regulatory compliance in one food safety system 

Overview

The purposes of the Food Act 2014 include achieving the safety and suitability of food for sale, maintaining confidence in New Zealand’s food safety regime and providing for risk-based measures that minimise and manage risks to public health. The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. It applies to all new food businesses from that date but existing food businesses require to be registered by 28th February 2019.

Growingpacking, transporting and wholesale of horticulture products are in the low risk category of National Programme Level 1 (NP1).

MPI Approval of NZGAP

NZGAP has been approved by MPI as meeting requirements of the Act as a section 40 Food Control Plan Template.

MPI recognise that the NZGAP system identifies:

  • Hazards that are reasonably likely to occur
  • Appropriate controls for those hazards
  • Steps for monitoring of appropriate limits
  • What to do when situations arise that require corrective actions

 

Where do I fit?

If you grow, pack, transport or wholesale horticulture produce then NZGAP certification can cover your Food Act requirements. Minimal processing includes rinsing and trimming, however if you carry out processes such as slicing, dicing or juicing then NZGAP certification will not cover your entire business for the Food Act.

If unsure, use the "Where Do I Fit" tool on the MPI website to find out what rules you need to follow under the Food Act 2014. 


What you need to do:

 Step 1: Register for NZGAP certification

  1. Register for NZGAP Certification
  2. Give NZGAP permission to register your business with MPI

If you do not wish NZGAP to register your business, you can also register under the Food Act with your Territorial Authority (or directly with MPI for multi-sites) and pay the applicable fees.

 

Step 2: Implement / Update your Food Safety System

If you are already NZGAP certified, there are 4 additional requirements to your existing NZGAP system to allow you to comply with the Food Act (e.g. recalls, record keeping). If you are new to NZGAP, you will need to implement the NZGAP system (manual and checklist) along withe the following additional requirements:

  1. In circumstances where product is contaminated by pests, the grower is to take the necessary corrective action to:
    a. Monitor and manage the risk to food safety,
    b. Segregate and destroy the contaminated product,
    c. Use a pest control plan to monitor the activity of animals.

  2. Notify MPI as soon as possible if a decision is made to recall food, and notify verifier/verification agency in the event of a breach of the food control plan that could result in food not being safe or suitable,

  3. Harmonize the requirements for keeping records with the MPI requirement of four years,

  4. All production sites must be verified during your next NZGAP audit – please register all associated site requiring a review for certification and Food Act.

 Step 3: Get Audited (Verified)

Once registered, your next NZGAP audit will double as a Food Act verification. 

PRE-FEB 2019: If registered for the Food Act pre-February 2019, your audit will occur within 1 year.
POST-FEB 2019: If you miss the deadline, or a new business post-February 2019, your audit shall occur within 6 weeks of Food Act registration.

 

Step 4: Reporting of audit outcomes

Key audit outcomes are reported to NZGAP and MPI by your auditor (e.g. whether your business is conforming or not). 

FAQ: Food Act Registration

What will happen to food businesses who haven't applied for registration by 28th February 2019?

If businesses have not applied for registration by the 28th February deadline, they will be operating unregistered businesses. Their customers  may refuse to accept their goods or use their services, and MPI and local Councils may take enforcement action.

For any new businesses, it's never too late to register see NZGAP Registration Page on how to register.

What will happen to food businesses whose applications have not been evaluated/approved/processed by 28th February 2019?
If these businesses have submitted a correct application, have proof of receipt of this application (e.g. have received an email form NZGAP, industry body or MPI stating that their application is "in progress"), have submitted a plan for evaluation, and are producing safe and suitable food, they can continue to operate as a food business.

If businesses applied for registration on time, but now need to register a different plan or programme, they can continue to operate as a food business - as long as they have proof of receipt of this application, as are producing safe and suitable food.

Can businesses accept food from unregistered suppliers?
Food businesses have a responsibility to only source food from reputable suppliers. For suppliers that are not yet registered, businesses may ask for proof that their Food Act registration is being processed (i.e. email receipt of application) and that these suppliers are providing safe and suitable food. It's also important to note that some businesses are exempt from registration (from Food Act, Animal Products Act, or both), but may still be reputable suppliers.

What if a new business but not yet trading?
Food Act registrations isn't needed yet, but note that it can take up to 3 months to get NZGAP certified because of registration, developing and implementing systems as well as getting audited, therefore it is important to plan ahead.

What horticultural operations does NZGAP cover?
Growing, packing, transport, stage, wholesale.

What if I am GLOBALG.A.P. certified?
You may be registered via another industry body, but if not you can register for the Food Act via NZGAP by signing up to 'Mutual Recognition Certification' . You may also register directly with MPI if you wish to use the GLOBALG.A.P. checklist/audit as your Food Act audit (you cannot register via Council in this case). If you do wish to register via the Council, this will be a separate National Programme Level verification (additional to GLOBALG.A.P. audit) via the Council.

FAQ: NZGAP and Food Act

Why NZGAP?

NZGAP certification enables growers to achieve both market access and regulatory compliance in one assurance system.

 What does NZGAP certification cover?

NZGAP is aligned with National Programme Level 1 of the Food Act for horticulture (includes growing and packing of minimally processed fruit and vegetables).

 What NZGAP certification does NOT cover?

If you have other operations like slicing, dicing or juicing, NZGAP certification will not meet all of your Food Act requirements as some of your operation is NP2/NP3 or you require a   Custom Food Control Plan.

 What if I already have NZGAP or GLOBALG.A.P. certification?

Great - you're covered once you give NZGAP permission to register your business. Your next audit will double as a Food Act verification.

 What if I have uncertified crops?

 If you sell any uncertified crops commercially, you will need to add these crops to your NZGAP certification or get a separate NP1 registration and verification with your territorial authority.

How much does it cost?

 NZGAP certification currently costs $1150 in year 1 and $685 per year after that. This covers your registration, certification and audit costs.

What is the deadline?

You need to be registered for the Food Act by 28th February, 2019. NZGAP can ensure that your registration will be processed for Food Act, once we receive your approval to do so.