Council looks to review food safety bylaws

South Taranaki eateries could soon be required to display food safety gradings when the council begins reviewing several bylaws.

The South Taranaki District Council's policy development committee voted yesterday to approve public consultation on creating five new bylaws and tweaking five others.

The food safety bylaw will offer diners a more-informed choice, while encouraging all businesses to excel, the council says.

Environmental health officer Doug Scott said the proposal includes an A, B and D grading system, as well as requiring 50 per cent of all food workers to complete a "recognised course in food hygiene".

At present, the council gives only a pass or fail assessment.

"Any premises receiving a D grade may be closed at the discretion of an authorised officer," he said.

Mr Scott said they avoided offering up a C grade because they "wanted a distinct separation between getting a bad grade and a good grade".

"We want everyone to have an A grade."

The proposed bylaw has been welcomed by Black & White Cafe co-owner Dorothy Nicholson.

Mrs Nicholson said the public had a right to know which eateries were up to standard and which were well behind.

"I'm 100 per cent behind this idea," she said.

"There is no such thing as perfection but people have to strive, and should want, to be up with the best of them as opposed to being a D down the other end of the scale."

Mr Scott said the more stringent approach would put them in line with the food bill currently before Parliament, without waiting for it to pass.

"The bill seeks to provide an efficient, risk-based regulatory regime that places the primary duty on persons trading in food to ensure that what is sold is safe and suitable," he said.

Mr Scott said of the 120 eateries under his watch only two or three would currently fall into a D grade.

Submissions on the draft bylaws are open from July 11 to August 10.


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Taranaki Daily News