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How does the 2014 Food Act affect you?

The 2014 Food Act is now in play and aims to make kitchens safer for everyone. Introduced on the 1st of March 2016, the Act is a new approach to food safety that may result in a few changes for you and your business.

Recently the Duke of Marlborough in Russel was caught out, as they weren’t aware of changes to the way minced meat now needs to be prepared and cooked. This resulted in one of their iconic burgers being taken off the menu. This is just one example of the importance of knowing the changes to the 2014 Food Act and how they affect your business.

This blog will look at a few of those changes with particular reference to the incident at the Duke of Marlborough.

The Food Act 2014 is based on research conducted by New Zealand’s Institute for Environmental and Science Research, and has taken into consideration food safety practices from around the world. Before the 2014 updates, it hadn’t been updated since 1981.

Here are just a few examples of changes to the Act that have had a larger impact on hospitality businesses, particularly around received goods.

Verifiers from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) will now check:  

  • Records of your approved supplier list and supplier assurances
  • The type and quantity of food
  • The temperature of the food and if it needs to be kept at a certain temperature

The MPI will also look closely at how sick staff are managed - for instance they are now required to be excluded from the kitchen if they have had two bouts of vomiting or diarrhoea within 12 hours.

This also involves showing your verifier:

  • A written record of when staff were sick
  • That everyone who handles food puts on clean clothing or aprons at the beginning of each shift
  • How you ensure clothing is clean 

These are just a few of the changes that might affect your business, so it’s important to understand which changes specifically affect your kitchen and the way it is run. You can visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website to find out more information.

Rare meat at Marlborough

New Zealand’s oldest licensed establishment was recently busted by the 2014 Food Act in an incident picked up by the media.

Russel’s Duke of Marlborough restaurant was forced to pull their iconic Governor’s Burger from the menu after a visit from an MPI inspector. The burger contains a ‘pink and juicy’ medium rare minced meat patty that could no longer be served in compliance with the new food act - it states minced meat and liver needs to be cooked at high temperatures for a longer amount of time to avoid contamination.

The team at the Duke of Marlborough hadn’t recognized these changes that directly affect the way their minced burger patties are cooked. As a result, it came as a bit of a shock when they were told they didn’t comply with new safety regulations.

However MPI food and beverage manager Sally Johnston said new rules didn’t entirely ban medium rare mince meat - it’s how it’s prepared and cooked that needs to change. The Duke of Marlborough instead has to think about the processes they’re using to cook the Governor’s Burger.

New rules state meat should have an internal minimum temperature of either: 

  • 65 degrees celsius for 15 minutes while cooked
  • 70 degrees for three minutes
  • 75 degrees for 30 seconds

Councils and the MPI are willing to get alongside businesses to find a solution that works for them, and they have since provided a document to help you find alternative ways to cook minced meat.

Since the new Act has come into play, it is now vital for your business to correctly record all food safety practices in your kitchen. Having a compliant and effective Food Control Plan will help you keep on top of food safety tasks. Find out more about how Chomp’s food safety app can help your kitchen be audit ready all the time.

Do you know if you would be ready for an audit tomorrow? Find out with our quiz here.

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