New Zealand Food Safety has updated guidance about operating safely at Alert Levels 2 & 3.
Currently it’s easy to add on key operations to a Food Control Plan or National Programme (like delivery, transport, and making chilled/frozen food) – and New Zealand Food Safety has waived some charges that would usually apply.
Food Act businesses must continue to meet the rules in their Food Control Plans or National Programmes, as well as meet the rules in the COVID-19 guidance for businesses.
Making changes to a business during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 2
To allow businesses an option to re-open in Alert Levels 3 & 2, there are packs of pre-evaluated procedures on these Covid-19 and food safety web pages that can be added to a food business’s plan or programme during COVID-19 Alert Levels. These packs can be added at no registration cost and without requiring verification. These packs include procedures for:
- takeaway and pick up;
- meal kits and repacking bulk food;
- preparing chilled and frozen meals; and
- making jams, chutneys and sauces.
Food businesses wanting to extend their scope to re-open, must download a pack from this web page, attach it to their Plan or Programme, and then notify their Registration Authority (New Zealand Food Safety or local council).
There is an extra step for businesses that want to add the pack to prepare chilled and frozen meals. Because the food safety risks are greater for these processes, these businesses need an off-site Scope Change Check interview within five (5) working days of operating to check they are managing the associated food safety risks. There is no charge to the business for this Check.
Registration renewal & verification during COVID-19
There are measures in place for Registration Authorities to legally defer registrations during the COVID-19 response. Businesses are asked to contact their Registration Authority if their registration renewal has been affected.
If a business is due for its food safety verification during COVID-19 Alert Levels, there is a Remote Check system of Food Act businesses as an interim measure until on-site verifications can resume. This means that Food Act verifiers can complete scheduled verifications with food businesses off-site, via a phone call or using online technology such as Skype, Zoom, Teams or another live-steaming app both parties can access.