Free workshops for food businesses

Invercargill eateries and shops are being offered free advice by the city council regarding new hygiene rules.

Council environmental health team leader Muriel Rusike said it already provided free advice but was urging more food premises to take advantage of that advice now, to get Food Control Plans in place before the Food Act 2014 is fully implemented on March 1, 2016.

The new legislation replaces the Food Hygiene Regulations and the Food Act 1981.

The new act puts the responsibility of food safety back on to businesses.

"Previously, most businesses would just let the inspectors check their premises annually but now they have to take ownership of how the business is run," Rusike said.

The council is offering food businesses free mentoring sessions and workshops to help them to introduce a food control plan, or national programme.

Operating with a food control plan, or national programme, will help the businesses meet their food safety and suitability requirements.

Zookeepers owner Paul Clark said it was a great idea because it could be confusing for some to understand new rules and regulations.

He would look at joining the mentoring sessions and workshops and hoped other businesses would too.

Rusike said that the uptake had been good lately, with 37 businesses on board, compared to 18 last year.

The Southland Times