Changes to the Food Safety Bylaw

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Council looks to adopt its new Food Safety Bylaw on 10 June 2014, which has significant amendments to the Food Safety Bylaw. If you are a registered food business with Stratford District Council, this WILL affect you. This Bylaw is the main regulatory tool used when inspecting food business in the Stratford District, and training and grading requirements are covered within this Bylaw.

The new Bylaw is set to come into effect on 1 July 2014. The four key areas where changes have been made include Food Hygiene Training, Grading, Sickness Policy and Closure. See below for more information.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions will be available on Council's website, www.stratford.govt.nz, shortly to assist food businesses with the transition to the new Food Safety Bylaw. Owners with specific questions should contact Environmental Health Officer Tessa Clarke on (06) 765 6099.

1. Food Hygiene Training
The minimum Food Hygiene training requirement for food workers will remain at 50%. However, to obtain an 'A' grade, businesses will either have to ensure 75% of their staff are trained OR ensure that a registered Food Control Plan is in place.

The aim is to provide a valuable incentive for businesses to get on board with the Food Control Plan while it is still voluntary, in doing so increasing standards of food safety in the District.

Various exemptions are specified to the training requirement:
a. Temporary workers; i.e. Ones that work on less than 10 occasions per year will not require training where they are supervised by a training food worker.
b. Workers who do not handle open food will not require training.
c. Workers whose only duty is service of food; i.e. Front of house staff will not require training.
d. Staff working in a temporary food stall will not require training.
e. New staff will not require training until after 3 months of employment.

2. Grading
Grading will continue to be carried out during the annual inspection and audit of each registered food business.

Grading will be more transparent and made according to a Risk Assessment. Businesses wishing to be re-graded can apply in writing and will be charged for an additional visit.

3. Sickness Policy
Every food business will have a written Sickness Policy addressing specific matters relating to the health of food workers.

A template sickness policy will be made available free of charge for businesses to print and adopt.

4. Closure
Where premises and/or equipment are found to be of such a state that food is at risk of contamination, Council may require the premises and/or equipment to close and/or to be cleaned by means of a Notice.

The length of time this Notice may be enforced has been extended from 24 hours to an indefinite time period to allow for premises where serious defects take several days to rectify.

The new Bylaw also states that where premises score an 'E' grade they are liable for prosecution and/or closure.