Wanganui Chronicle: Food outlets should find it easier to operate under changes included in the Food Act 2014 – but that should not be seen as a licence to flaunt the rules. And while the regulations are effective from March 1 next year, there is a transition phase to bring all businesses into line.

Essentially, the rules require businesses that prepare and sell meals – hotels, restaurants, cafes, takeaway businesses and caterers – to have a “food control plan”. That plan will show how they manage food safely and they will have to record their processes, which will then be audited by council environmental health staff.

At the lower end of the risk scale are those handling and selling food items but which do not make or prepare them, such as dairies or service stations selling pies. Businesses that will not be required to have a food control plan include motels and backpacker lodges providing breakfasts and snacks. But their food must still be safe and suitable for sale.

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