What do growers need to do?
Growers are required to apply for registration under the Food Act 2014 by 30 November 2018 in order to be registered for the Food Act by the final deadline of 28 February 2019. Options for registration may include:
For those growers who are GAP Certified:
- Authorise your grower organisation to manage registration for you. This option is under active discussion with MPI and each organisation will contact with their respective members when this becomes an option for you (it’s looking good so far)
- Registration under National Programme 1 with your local council
- Registration of a multi-site business (crossing council boundaries) with MPI
Growers need to demonstrate how they grow and harvest food that is safe for consumers. Under the Food Act growers and packhouses need to meet the requirements of National Programme 1.
The good news for growers that are already certified to GLOBALG.A.P or NZGAP is that MPI has reviewed these standards and agreed that food grown in accordance with them will meet their guidelines for safe food. The process to have these recognised under the Food Act is underway and will mean that rather than following National Programme 1 you will be able to continue to use your GAP programme instead.
Get checked (verified)
Each grower needs to arrange for an approved Food Act verifier to check their business and verify you meet the requirements of the Food Act. MPI is working with various industry bodies, including the GAP National Technical Working Group (NZGAP is a member), to agree how current GAP inspections can double as a Food Act verification, to avoid extra verification costs. Growers will be advised as soon as details are finalised.
Register here for NZGAP to be covered for both the Food Act and your market access requirements with one audit.
NZGAP Update | 12 June 2018
The Food Act 2014 and its regulations apply to a range of horticultural growing and post harvest food activities. The only current exceptions are growers who are not selling their produce, and those that sell all of their own product direct to consumers e.g. growers who sell all of their product through “gate sales” or personally take their product to a farmers' market where they sell to consumers.
There is recognition that existing Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) programmes provide an excellent avenue for growers to meet Food Act requirements and discussions are well underway with MPI on how to ensure growers will be able to demonstrate their compliance as part of their standard GAP programme. While the details of exactly how GAP systems can be recognised for the Food Act are still being finalised, it is important that growers understand that options are being developed and details will be available in the near future.
Growers who are not currently covered by a recognised GAP programme will need to ensure their growing practices are safe and they will need to arrange for their own registration and verification. As previously stated, HortNZ recommends growers become certified under a GAP scheme to meet market and Food Act requirements.
NZGAP Update | 5th June 2018
Last week, the NZGAP team was contacted by a grower who had been informed by their district council that they needed to register for Food Act by 30 May – this is not correct. There appears to be a lack of information provided to councils about the time frames and who growers will be able to register with. We are still working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on alignment of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) schemes for Food Act purposes, and have been in active discussion about NZGAP acting as a "pass-through" agent for registration of NZGAP certified growers - at little or no cost compared to registering with your council or MPI.
We hope to conclude this work in the next couple of months but we have yet to land all aspects of GAP acceptance, thereby avoiding unnecessary additional costs to growers.
It is important to note that growers are not required to be registered until February 2019.
If you've received correspondence contrary to this please send a copy to [email protected]. Our objective is to make compliance with the Food Act as aligned to GAP, and burden-free as possible given that food safety standards under GAP meet, or exceed, Food Act requirements.
The GAP National Technical Working Group will be considering how to make further progress at its next meeting on Friday.
NZGAP Update | 4th April 2018
Horticulture New Zealand has been working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) since the Food Bill was initiated (2013), regarding the recognition of GAP Schemes for Food Act verification, and coordinating the Food Act registration for your horticulture business. Our proposal, accepted in principle by MPI, is to enable GAP audits to cover verification for Food Act National Program 1 (NP1); and for grower business registration to occur, where growers choose to do so, through Horticulture New Zealand rather than at considerable cost through territorial authorities. This aligned verification, and registration through HortNZ, will require growers to be using one of the horticulture industry recognised Food Control Plans under the Food Act – it is intended these will be NZGAP and GLOBALG.A.P. and must cover all crops you produce.
Industry and MPI are now working through these two components in detail for acceptance. Progress is being made and MPI have accepted NZGAP certification as equivalent to a NP1 Food Control Plan. Once GLOBALG.A.P. is accepted we will to work with MPI to get these 2 schemes formally recognised as industry Food Control Plans. There is no further update as yet on the registration process – we will be meeting with MPI next week to discuss the requirements for this to occur.
We appreciate that timeframes for the inclusion of the horticulture industry are looming – we have engaged with MPI on this very issue to ensure that we can communicate to growers about the efficient manner of Food Act registration and verification, using industry schemes.
A more detailed and informed update on Food Act implementation will come through in the next few weeks, as details are confirmed with MPI.
2017 NZGAP Update | The Food Act passed into law on 1 March 2014. Since then, MPI has been drafting the Food Regulations which will underpin the new Act.
Earlier this year MPI drew up a set of proposals, which they are thinking of including in the regulations. They got feedback from industry on these proposals, which was generally supportive. So MPI will now finalise the draft regulations. Click on the image below for our own interpretation of how the Food Act is likely to be implemented in the horticulture industry.
- The horticulture industry is working with MPI to prepare for the implementation of the Food Act by the 28 February 2019 deadline. This includes establishing process for the registration of horticulture businesses and completion of food safety audits.
- Both MPI and the horticulture industry are seeking an efficient and effective food safety system, which is provided at minimum cost and without duplication.
- The horticulture industry is seeking a partnership approach between MPI and the industry, which achieves safe food and while providing an efficient and effective framework.
- The horticulture industry is seeking to utilise its industry systems which are well established in the horticulture industry for over 20 years.