Mojo and Steffan lead Green response to Food Bill

In the new Parliament I will be stepping into the size 12 gumboots of Sue Kedgley and working hard on the food portfolio.

In the last Parliament Sue Kedgley met with the Minister of Food Safety Kate Wilkinson and sought to exempt small growers, people who sell food directly to consumers, and those who barter or swap food, from some of the more onerous food regulations contained in the new Food Bill.

This bill, which is currently before Parliament, will replace the 1981 Food Act.

Will the Food Bill tie up small growers with red tape?

Sue called publicly for these groups to be exempted.  Unfortunately so far as we know the Minister has failed to move on our concerns. One small win however was an assurance from Ms Wilkinson that she would be revisiting the issues surrounding seed exchanges with officials.

However given the Food Bill is not yet law, there is still plenty of time for amendments to be made. It is due to be debated again in the next Parliament and is yet to go through its second reading, committee stages and third reading stages.

This is why I am looking to get feedback from those who grow and sell food regarding their thoughts on the Food Bill.  I will collate your concerns and in the new parliament will look to join with those that work in seed exchanges, community gardens and grow good food to push the Government into amending the Food Bill.

My Green Party colleague Steffan Browning who has the agriculture portfolio is also keen to get feedback and over summer will be visiting small growers, organic producers and those running farmers markets talking about pitfalls in the new law.

If the freedom to grow and share food is threatened by the Food Bill, the Green Party will be opposing it.

More posts on the Food Bill

Food Bill update from Sue Kedgley – Sue Kedgley, 13 September 2011

The Food Bill, not as sweet as first appeared – Steffan Browning, 18 January 2012

53 thoughts on “Mojo and Steffan lead Green response to Food Bill

  1. Cheers, Mojo. There is a lot of concern out there about the Food Bill (read through the comments thread) and the supposed reassurances of Minister Kate Wilkinson are not all that reassuring.

    Glad to see you are keeping a close watch on developments.

  2. I find it quite outrageous and draconian that its possible that I can’t grow and share the results either by seed or finished product unless it complies with what an authority deems suitable.

    Monsanto etc have GE’d the goodness and diversity out for their own greedy ends, biodiversity is threatened and with it food supply if we don’t protect heirloom and proven local varieties.

    This must be stopped and Kate wilkinson is proven to not keep her word.

  3. I, too, am extremely concerned about the implications of the bill. Most people take for granted the right to grow, sell, share, swap, and barter food and seeds – as they should, as is our absolute unalienable right as citizens of this planet. The bigger picture of Codex Alimentarius and the grabbing, grasping, overbearing activity of global players like Monsanto is what’s happening here, and if more people understood what’s going on – if they even knew what the Food Bill was, let alone Codex! – the outcry would be huge. We absolutely must retain the right to sovereignty over our bodies and what goes in them. To grow and share and sell and barter our food and seeds. Let the regulations apply to large-scale growers, not to your average Joe Public tending his vegetable plot out the back.

    From what I can see, the two biggest problems are though, that it’s so utterly ludicrous and laughable most people don’t believe it, even though it’s right in front of their eyes, and it’s receiving so little media attention most don’t have a clue it’s even happening. And the ones that have heard of it, either think it’s a good thing as they don’t understand the bigger picture, or they think “No way, that can’t happen, they won’t enforce it, what a load of rubbish.” This Bill will affect everybody, whether they know it or like it or believe it or not. Please do everything you can to get these changes made and retain our basic human rights.

    Erin
    A gardener who likes her food fresh, organic, and from my backyard!!

  4. I wish I could believe we can make parliament see sense on this matter but the truth is it is much bigger than that.
    As long as we want to be in the WTO we will need to force these bills through or risk exclusions and penalties.
    It is corporate dictatorship and seed control for profit.
    There are many documentaries exposing this worldwide food domination and control.
    Water is next.
    If only NZ could have the foresight to be self sustainable and protect our country before it is too late.
    I hope Green’s put this topic in the spotlight as most people in NZ are completely unaware of the proposed changes and implications.
    Thanks

  5. Kate Wilkinson has proven she cannot be trusted. John Key cannot defineately be trusted. I fail to see why the Food bill should be brought in at all, although I believe Stefan Browning wrote somewhere that parts of it are already in. Its smacks of facism, big brother controlling all the little sheep. I have been saying for a long time that the way to a better future is grow your own food. It will help in many facets, health, climate change,use less oil etc etc. But the 1% is probably fully aware of this hence the codex bill. A lot of people are getting the word around about it and there will be resistence to it

  6. We are following the USA and the government seems to be supporting the corporate powers which I suppose is natural for the National Party to do. The clauses must be put in. We must be able to save seeds,exchange seeds and food, plant our trees and garden in what size we have of section or mproperty. I still want to here what is happening about bringing back a morotorium on GE crops animals and trees. I am doing my best to get people interested ,annoying the politicians but the greens seem to have been very quiet on the GE front. I have written so many times and no answers from asnywhere in the green party. Hugh Halliday.

  7. There is no “if” in terms of this bill negatively impacting the people, it is a certainty.

    Don’t let some of the more highminded drones in parliament write off the resistance to this bill as “conspiracy” because it isn’t.

    We the people do not want this bullshit in this country. We told the Yanks to get stuffed when they wanted nukes in NZ territory – and this Food Bill without the required amendments is the same. It is a threat to basic human rights and it is to bring NZ in alignment with the Codex Alimentarius, as Erin has pointed out.

    Please, please, PLEASE don’t let New Zealand fall to the tyranny of vested corporate interests. Food security should serve the INDIVIDUAL and the COMMUNITY, not the Government, and certainly Corporations who lobby the WTO and the WHO to make laws and edicts that ultimately serve THEM.

    Do what you must and DO NOT LET THIS BILL PASS UNAMENDED!!

    Thanks though, I’m glad there is a voice in parliament willing to listen to the people.

    Beau

  8. i have a generic issue related to milk and raw milk at farm gate. it is more than the food bill currently discussed as such but for people like me with a dozen of goats trying to go thru the hoops of NZSFA to be able to sell raw milk at the gate is a major hurdle ..

  9. I am very concerned about the loss of the right of producers to use their seeds from the previous crop to grow the next generation crop (as it has happened in France). Then food producers will be at the mercy of big agribusiness like Monsanto.

  10. The Bill does not recognise 3rd party assurance programs (NZGAP / GLOBALGAP etc)…One of he stated aims of the bill was to reduce compliance costs for producers.As it stands, the Bill currently does the complete opposite.

  11. Bernard, this is something close to my heart, too.MAF/NZFSA admits themselves that it is basically not possible to sell raw milk on a small scale because the compliance cost are prohibitive. On the other side, they “forgot” to include current Section 12 which allows the sale of 5 liters of raw milk per day per customer at the farmgate as long as you have a Risk Management Program (RMP) which is for bottling and selling of raw milk. According to MAF they never received an application for such an RMP. So there is currently nobody who is allowed to legally sell raw milk in New Zealand. The kind-of good news is that MAF realised they will have to include something and just recently asked for submissions. Unfortunately the cut off date was the 5th of December 2011. I hope you were aware of this and were able to make a submission.

  12. Quentin, as I said again, there is nothing in the Food Bill 2010 which wouldn’t allow this. The issue you raise would be rather an agricultural one than a food safety issue.

  13. Community Supported Agriculture could be threatened here, as Bernard’s comment indicates. And its not just a dairy issue. What if someone wanted to grow & market pastured chicken in the Joel Salatin manner?

    We should work towards a “food freedom code”, that if agreed to by customers would put the producer into the lowest level of risk, where you just have to read/listen to lectures from FSA.

  14. I am not sure I see the difference between monsanto, nestle, fontera, Kraft or the WTO (ie NZ or global organisations) if they are trying to achieve large profits and ignoring biodiversity, organic, low carbon input, locally produced, fair trade (ie a fair price to farmers), animal and environmentally friendly products that we, as consumers, are interested in ie good for us (proven naturally healthy) products (Ask anyone). We dont have to have them all but it is something to aim for! why would we restrict ourselves Of course we need to currently maintain our oversea trade however why do we have to change our healthy locally based systems in NZ to bend to international corporation based policies. We can use this policy work as an opportunity to encourage education about the need for healthy soil based systems with low carbon inputs. We can also address the real perpetrators of the system – monocropped, chemically grown, disease susceptible systems in favor of local diverse systems. “A reworked bill could go a long way towards ensuring small scale, localised, diverse systems get incubated and supported into existence. For example, if you’re a large-ish scale grower, and you see that if by changing your methods to become more localised and diverse you could fall under an annoying regulatory threshold, then you might just do that.” (http://permaculture.org.au/2011/11/24/new-zealands-160-2-food-bill-an-opportunity/)

    Seed selling (not only bartering)is also an issue, in Europe it is not allowed to sell unregistered seed, and barter is the only method. http://www.grain.org/article/entries/541-seed-laws-in-europe-locking-farmers-out
    http://trutherblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/no-strain-no-gain-eu-fines-heirloom.html
    For what reason could this be other than to give control to corporations. Selling and swapping seed is a viable business and provides, if nothing else, a monetary incentive to local growers to trade in rare, disease tolerant and valuable (including biodiverse) species. We must ensure that the Selling of seed is not restricted! Same with health care and herbal medicine, why increase the spending on the national health system if people are happy to self regulate!
    Learn from our mistakes that have been made globally, we already have the answers and have a chance to use them.

  15. This food bill is totally nuts .It reeks of control in a huge document of 366 pages (just think of the cost of that alone let alone by the time it is passed).The first question that needs asking is WHY DO WE NEED IT AT ALL.
    What suddenly has started making people sick ,Where are the sick people who are sick from eating home grown .hunted .fished ,raw milk .home killed meats ,
    No the sick people come and will come from fast foods ,GMOs .Factory type farming .While the world gets fatter and sicker the powers that be are looking to Control
    the Human food chain with a document called the food bill .THIS BILL NEEDS READING WORD FOR WORD BY EVERY ONE .No hope of that not even the people that vote on it have bothered .

    One word ,one sentence, hidden in the 366 pages of claptrap can become law and will effect us all .
    including
    Home gardeners ,hunters ,fishers ,seed savers ,farmers .traders, food co.ops

  16. @Rob Painting: Let me give it a try.
    Current system has a mix of location based (licensed kitchens, registered food premises) and risk based systems (Food Safety Program (FSP) and Risk Management Program (RMP)) FSP/RMP are required for anything dairy and meat. Licensed kitchhen are licensed by the local council and controlled by them, too. FSP/RMP are approved by NZFSA and need to be audited by approved auditing companies. Cost for licensed kitchen varies by council we pay $400 a year in Far North. FSP/RMP approval cost vary on complexity, I was quoted $4,000. Yearly auditing cost are dependent on hourly rate of auditor which seems to be a minimum of $150. If you add equipment to a licensed kitchen no re-registration is required,if you change anything in your FSP/RMP processes a re-approval and re-auditing is required.
    New System:
    All food businesses are managed by MAF/NZFSA. No location based system anymore, all is risk based. Based on what you do you will be categorized into three different categories. Cat 1 requires only to have a basic knowledge about safe food handling. This might be supported by information provided to the business by MAF. Cat2 and 3 need to follow common requirements which will be defined by workgroups made up by industry experts.Food businesses who grow their own food and sell it unprocessed to the end consumer will be in Cat1. School galas, fundraisers etc will be in Cat 1 (that’s an improvement to the current law where they officially need a registered kitchen). Food Safety Officers (which don’t necessarily need to be employed by government) have all the power to close any food business. This is also celebrated as an improvement since nowadays they don’t have any power and can’t shut down i.e. a dodgy take-away etc. Note: The new food bill doesn’t go into specific regulations i.e. doesn’t say “As a producer of jams and pickles you will need to do this and that blah blah” and basically says “As a producer of processed fruit products you will be in category 2 and will have to follow the requirements the industry workgroup will define and which will apply to category 2″ (That’s just an example and might not be correct but hopefully gives yo an idea).
    The issues as I see them:
    It might be expensive. If the FSP/RMP cost are any indication me, as a small business owner, will either have to increase my prices or look at the cost and make a decision if I still want to run my (tiny) food business. Big corporation of course don’t have this issue.
    It might introduce a lot of bureaucracy. As an example: Cheese makers today if they have an RMP need to log the starting temperature of the milk, how long it took to bring it up to pasteurization temperature, how long they kept it at this pasteurization temperature, how long it took to cool down the milk to target temperature. Not only the milk temperature needs to be logged but also the air temperature between milk and lid. All logged with date and time. Again, big cheese factories might not have a problem with that because it will all be controlled by a computer.
    Local council doesn’t play any role in the food system. I believe that the Health and Safety Officer of our local council knows best the environment I work in, my suppliers if I buy local and my customers if I sell local. Does a Ministry in Wellington know that, too?
    My biggest concern: The absolute power a Food Safety Officer has. They can confiscate anything, no matter if part of your business or personal items, they can enter any location, again, business or private etc. They can do all this without a warrant. I had a run in with NZFSA years ago and if people with an attitude like the ones I dealt with will get this power I am very concerned. And that’s an understatement.
    The definition of food which is anything which has the potential to be consumed by humans or to be part of something which can potentially be consumed by humans.
    Issues I have with the Food Safety system in general (this is not new in the Food Bill 2010):
    One rule to rule them all. The Food System in New Zealand doesn’t distinguish between a small cheese factory where everything is made by hand and 200kg f cheese are produced in a month and a Fonterra/Mainland factory where everything is computer controlled and they produce 2 Mill kg a month.
    The food system in New Zealand doesn’t support self-sufficient communities. Bartering, providing food for reward (think WWOOF), even having a party where you send out invitations not only to friends but also business partners customers etc is basically a food business. This by the way includes cow sharing schemes. Yes, two families milking one cow is by the letter of the law a food business and because it is a dairy operation it needs an approved RMP (I can buy 4 cows every year for the cost of this!).
    The New Zealand Food System is 100% focused on export and big corporations. Kate Wilkinson openly said this in her first reading of the Food Bill 2010. She said that we cannot afford to base our export business on domestic food safety rules. I do understand that. A government needs to look at profit etc. But a government also needs to look that their own people are able to live a healthy life and are able to make choices by themselves what they want to eat and how they want to live.
    My perfect world? A food system which is based on the purpose of the business. You are a big corporation and produce processed food you will have to follow a set of rules for the size and purpose of your enterprise. You are a small producer of jams and pickles (also processed food) you have a different set of regulations which make sure your small business produces safe food. A consumer should be enabled to make an educated decision if they want to buy and eat the food of a specific food business. Big companies like Fonterra and big industry organisations like Meat Processors of New Zealand shouldn’t have any power in our food safety system. But reading about the Meat Processors complaining that they have to follow all the regulations and that people can still homekill a lamb makes me nervous. They put pressure onto the government only to protect their profits. And maybe soon we won’t be allowed to homekill anymore. What is next? Homebrew? Home Cheese making (By the way, NZFSA told me that I am not allowed to use milk from our own animals for our home made cheese. They were wrong of course. But the fact that they even considered to be correct and that they were quite sure about this shows me how they think and work)
    I hope this sheds some light on this. And please keep in mind I am not an expert. I am just like you and some of the things I said above might even be wrong because I misinterpreted. After all, the Food Bill 2010 wasn’t written to be understood by you and me so it is quite hard to read. Isn’t this funny (NOT!) that the laws which apply top all of us can’t be understood by most of us because it is all legal blurb?

  17. @john earney: You are absolutely right John. And Kate Wilkinson the Minister for Food Safety openly said why a new bill. Because our export business currently needs to follow domestic food safety rules. And we need to adjust this so that we can stay in the World Trade Organisation and that we can ship food to US and Japan and Canada etc. Compare the new bill with the new US system and you will be surprised by the similarities.
    So we change the domestic food system now which in the future will have to follow the export requirements! This in my book puts profit above people.

  18. just a question: how will kindies, schools, soccer clubs and the likes be affected by this bill? These groups often use sausage sizzles and home-made cake stalls to raise funding… will this still be possible? If not, I don’t know how some of these groups will be able to survive…
    I don’t think New Zealanders would agree with this if this was brought to their attention.

  19. Peter – thanks for the info. Be nice if the Green Party had the capacity to churn out layperson-friendly documents that could be disseminated. Hard to get riled up about something, when it seems to be happening in stealth-mode. Personally I’d rather not just rely on word-of-mouth because people often get the facts arse-about-face.

  20. This bill is written for overseas not us .Its like hitting a pin with a sledge hammer it is just the next step up the ladder of control the last step was in 2005 when cake stalls and sausage sizzles were targeted and we all had to get Commercial kitchens Many stopped and MANY MANY will stop on this round .Our busness like many others deals only within New Zealand .Have totaly nothing to do with export If a bill is needed to keep our export markets happy thats were it needs to stop .Nothing is broken in the sytem we have .SO WHY FIX IT .

  21. @Reiny Scheper: That’s so far the most positive aspect I found of the new Food Bill 2010. Current law would require all the activities you mentioned to source their food from a registered food business i.e. with a licensed kitchen etc. The new Food Bill 2010 puts these activities into category 1 which means they only require to know about food safety. But I think they will still need to be registered. But MAF Says there won’t be any cost for this registration.

  22. @John Small: This sort of activity is already regulated. Selling chicken in Joel Salatin style is basically not viable in New Zealand. Selling any meat/poultry would require to get it slaughtered in a registered meat processing plant. So again, nothing new, we already have these regulations. See also: http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Want-Do-Illegal-Stories/dp/0963810952 and http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/Salatin_Sept03.pdf
    As I asked at some other place: Are we discussing the new Food Bill 2010 here or include the existing Food Safety law in this discussion? Do we oppose some of the Food Bill 2010 regulations or are we aiming at changing existing law? I am a strong believer in making smaller steps and having realistic goals. In my view it promises a higher success rate than reaching for the sky!

  23. As per WTO rules we cannot give subsidies to local company to compete with international competitors
    Somehow i see the above coming up as a reply.. :-) .. everything is stacked up against the small “guy” . organic certification around 1000$ , NZSFA RMP to be able to milk my goat and sell some milk at the gate another 1000$, making cheese to sell , forget about it as i am using raw milk .

  24. Hi there

    I don’t any part of this bill at all. I live in a low income area in Napier and a lot of us have backyard veggie patches. We all swap seed and veggies on a regular basis. I do not want ANY outside or even internal NZ group trying to control what I do in my spare time.

    Regards

    Cheri

  25. Kiaora all,

    As I see it the key issues regarding the food bill are:

    Its timing in relation to the TPPA and the ramifications of WTO, Codex and the aims of the Bio Tech industry.

    The onerous and draconian provisions of searches without search warrants with necessary force potentially using non govt seconded officers on premises deemed to be breaking the law

    With breaking the law to include undertaking the following activities without an approved food safety plan.

    the all encompassing definition of food including potentially seeds( this definition is blurred)Making the exchange and barter in seeds an encompassed activity.

    the definition of sale to include barter

    and the definition of food premises to potentially include supplying food to wwoofers.

    The impact additional regulation will have on farmers markets.

    The dubious food safety criteria, and what is safe food. Pesticide residues and GMO contamination are to be ignored.

    Thanks for the opportunity to post Mojo and Steffan. I hope you have success with this in Parliament in implementing the necessary changes.
    I think generating a petiion for a referendum both on this and ratification of the TPPA would be very beneficial. Is that something the Greens can get underway?

    Cheers sandman

  26. There seems to be a lot of hysteria, particularly on facebook, about the food bill, which is not helping anyone. The major concerns there seem to be a fear that the bill leaves much to the actual implementation of the rules. Things that are not specifically excluded are deemed by readers as being included. The fears of the people whose comments I am reading are around New Zealanders suddenly being forbidden to do things we have always done, people who do not view themselves as a small business suddenly being viewed as one by the law and finally – the idea of a group of people with a power to legally interfere with the lives of ‘ordinary, non-business’ NZers, because they are falling foul of new laws. Examples might be: is having WWOOFers a small business? is providing food to family, whanau, or friends a small business? is sharemilking a cow (2 or 3 families) a small business? I suspect that most ‘ordinary folk’ are not aware of companies evading rules by giving freebies, and therefore they view rules about barter and giving of food free to be directed at ‘over the fence’ community style sharing. I don’t know how you define a difference that 1.) cannot be subverted 2. is simple and 3. doesn’t rely on differences in implementation, to separate ‘over the fence’ community sharing and sharp business practice.
    Small businesses are another matter and seem to be able to speak for themselves directly. I am only summarising a large number of (often rather inarticulate) concerns that I observe on facebook.

  27. This new food bill is just one more of the many ways that governments use to control the masses, just have a look what is happening the United States along with the new law that gives the military the same powers as the police to arrest anyone at will that does not conform to the governments wishes.
    Maybe this food bill is also another area that the occupy movement can add their voice to.

  28. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/6210351/Fears-of-new-laws-unwarranted

    Hi again

    I was not happy to see concerns of voters being dismissed as “unwarranted” without specific feedback – totally rude and condescending. I do not want any part of this bill whatsoever. It amounts to outside interference with NZ whether you are a backyard grower or a small business selling your produce to your local community. Can you please oppose this bill for your communities.

    I completely agree with this from the article linked above: “Marlborough Farmers’ Market stallholder Ken Gordon said another layer of food safety standards was not needed in New Zealand when fruit and vegetables from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China “which are basically grown in effluent” fill supermarket shelves.

    He was opposed to the Government controlling “just about every aspect of the food chain. They are trying to fix something that is not broken … the act is just another form of control with no benefits.”

    Regards

    Cheri

  29. Why is this bill put before the “Primary Production Select Committee”? Most primary production foodstuffs for export (meat and milk anyway) aren’t even covered by the the Food Act, they have their own legislation called the “Animal Products Act”. What do the bankers and dairy farmers that sit on the PPSC know about public health – nothing! It should have been put before the “Health Select Committee” of course, but they might have come up with the “wrong conclusions” ie. ones that were actually about public health outcomes rather than WTO / Codex compliance that the primary sector craves to facilitate penetration into overseas markets.

    Of course, this will make also make lots of new “box ticking” jobs for third rate graduates that are too “challenged” to do the real science involved in random product testing, which is where food safety monitoring ought to be concentrated. The fact is that intelligent home-based producers could produce a more hygenic product in their toilet domestic kitchen than some commercial operators can in their stainless-steel facilities. A regime based on occasional random product testing would prove this “inconvenient truth” to be so. A lot of food businesses come up with bad bacterial cell-counts time and time again but are allowed to carry on production because all they have to do is pretend to modify their process a bit and do reassessment- like everything else these days it becomes a matter of “just pay money”, a kind of legalised protection racket. If you are producing 100 000 chickens a day or whatever this game becomes just another business cost to be passed on to the consumer at a few cents in the dollar. everyone knows that the problem is unsolvable because factory farming and industrial processing is intrinsically unclean. No amount of risk management plan can deal with the disgruntled employee that spits in the mixing bowl or the need to use ever cheaper inputs and cut costs to maintain competitiveness.

    Here’d hoping they manage to get the submissions process reopened, but don’t hold your breath! As with all these things the powers-that-be already have decided the outcome before the submissions process takes place.

    Take heart from the example of what’s happening with the builders registration scheme. The gov’t just have to keep putting off the start date for compulsory registration because the builders simply refuse to register. Perhaps a concerted refusal to register by a large enough sector of small and medium food businesses (when they realise what this is going to cost them) might persuade them of their folly.

    Just another small point. At the moment, anyone with a desire to produce a batch of Jam, Pickles or whatever can hire a registered commercial kitchen for a few hours and they then have a perfectly legal product to sell. Under the new scheme this will no longer be possible because the registration will be of the persons or businesses plan rather than the premises, so that’s another door slammed in your face :-(

  30. EXCELLENT point Kevin! There is no credible ‘public health’ issue here. There is no public health ‘food safety’ crisis in NZ. If there was – you are correct – why wasn’t it put before the Health Select Committee? Thanks for that! Cheers! Penny Bright. PS: I will pass your comment on – because it helps to ‘fill in the dots’!

  31. What I am looking for are the ‘smoking gun’ links between the WTO and Codus Alimentarius and the NZ Food Bill. I have checked the Regulatory Impact Report and found nothing. I have checked some of the evidence in the form of submissions and found nothing (yet). I wonder if there are any documents related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that apply? Or separate WTO documents that apply? Because, in my considered opinion there is simply NO WAY that there is a NZ ‘food safety’ crisis that warrants a nearly 400 page NZ Food Bill. If you have any more info on these matters – that would be GREAT! My email is waterpressure@gmail.com Cheers! Penny Bright

  32. Penny Bright

    What I am looking for are the ‘smoking gun’ links between the WTO and Codus Alimentarius and the NZ Food Bill.

    This Parliamentary Library Food safety briefing paper (PDF) from 2000 is a good start:

    New Zealand participates in international food standards setting through the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, jointly managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. The standards published by the Commission are used as a basis for international food trade regulation by the World Trade Organization. MAF currently chairs several Codex committees of particular importance to New Zealand, including the Dairy and Meat Hygiene committee.

    Hope that helps. You’ll find more in this search.

  33. Nice work Jackalman, just been checking out the UN FAO Model Food Bill from 2005 particularly pp.195 onwards. It seems that in the five years intervening the corporate lobbyists and vested interests have taken the 2005 proposal and turned it into something way beyond that which the original authors intended, so much for “bringing into line with international standards -the 2010 Bill is way beyond the UN’s blueprint…..

  34. One wonders why it is thought necessary to have armed inspectors conducting warrentless searches of peoples kitchens.

    Perhaps it is the fear of the presence of knives … and boiling broth!

    Consider this – are the anti-food NAZIs of the same ilk as the anit-gun forces? Are they two sides of the same coin – interested only in sheeple control?

    The duplicity of our government attempting to force through such legislation is concerning to ALL thinking people.

    Perhaps we need to work more closely together for our mutual protection?

  35. JayDee

    It would probably surprise you how much there is in common. Mistrust of the world’s banking systems, the pharmaceutical industry “monopoly” on drugs and resultant pricing…. bringing manufacturing BACK to NZ.

    We have our moments :-)

    BJ

  36. FOUND IT! THE ‘SMOKING GUN’ DIRECT LINK BETWEEN CODEX ALIMENTARIUS / NZ FOOD SAFETY http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/codex/overview.htm
    Overview
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz
    International food safety standards are coordinated through the Codex Alimentari…See More
    Overview
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz
    International food safety standards are coordinated through the Codex Alimentarius Commission. New Zealand is an active participant. If you’re new to Codex, start here.

    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/reform-nz-food-regulations/
    Reform of New Zealand Food regulations
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz
    Through the Domestic Food Review and a proposed Food Bill, MAF aims to provide an efficient, effective and risk-based food regulatory regime.
    Reform of New Zealand Food regulations
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz
    Through the Domestic Food Review and a proposed Food Bill, MAF aims to provide an efficient, effective and risk-based food regulatory regime.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Cheers!
    Penny Bright
    waterpressure@gmail.com

  37. I don’t think anyone was ever trying to deny there is a link between NZFSA/MAF and Codex. It would be a vary strange thing if there wasn’t. After all, Codex is an agency of the UN/WTO, not Al Qaeda!
    Of more interest would be -who actually drafted the Food Bill 2010 and its counterparts in other parts of the world? As I pointed out in my last comment, the UN FAO Model Food Bill from 2005 is a world apart from the current Bill, and in fact more closely resembles the sort of sensible legislation we used to get before the “compliance industry” got their money-grubbing little paws on it, ie, deals directly with fitness, adulteration, contamination and so-on.

    I am now pretty keen to push this issue with owners of already licensed commercial kitchens and those who hire those kitchens for occasional use. As I see it, there are a large number of these and they haven’t a foggy clue what’s going on. They will be very badly affected from their present position and most of them will simply cease to be in business. As most of these are not going to be “activist types” we need a simple statement of how severely their businesses will be affected with suggestions as to what they might do re. pressuring the govt etc. that we can launch into their sphere and encourage them to circulate among themselves, service provider to clients back and forth- rather in the manner of a chain letter.

  38. Here you go folks!
    MORE ‘SMOKING GUN’ EVIDENCE OF THE LINK BETWEEN THE NZ FOOD BILL AND CODEX ALIMENTARIUS:

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway | Scoop News
    http://www.scoop.co.nz

    “Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

    31 January 2008

    The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

    In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review. ….

    Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway
    Friday, 1 February 2008, 1:43 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Food Safety Authority

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

    31 January 2008

    The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

    In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review.

    Dr Slorach has been in New Zealand for the past two weeks, and leaves for Europe today. During his time here he has evaluated NZFSA’s systems and processes and met with Minister Dalziel and a wide range of interested parties, including scientists, members of special-interest groups, and representatives of food industry and consumer organisations.

    During February Dr Slorach will visit the government food safety agencies of Ireland, Denmark and Sweden with the aim of comparing the approach in New Zealand with that of these highly regarded, European nations.
    Dr Slorach is expected to return to New Zealand in late March to finalise his review, with Ministerial consideration of the final report and recommendations in the second quarter of the year.

    Dr Slorach has been given full access to NZFSA files, staff and resources during his time in New Zealand. “I have had an opportunity to meet with people from a range of backgrounds and over the next month will be assessing the material I have gathered during my time here. My next step will be to undertake an assessment of NZFSA’s decision-making processes compared with those of the other food safety agencies.”

    Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”

    Dr Slorach also chaired an independent enquiry set up by the Norwegian government into the handling of an outbreak of foodborne illness caused by E.coli O103:H25 in Norway in early 2006

    ENDS
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    waterpressure@gmail.com

  39. This is a e mail from a good frend ………….read on ….
    have been looking over that Food Bill. The thing which strikes me the most so far, is the harsh penalties. $50,000 Dollars or possibly 3 months in prison for hindering the work of a food safety officer. Yet that officer has carte blanch to use their own discretion as to what is deemed an obstruction. You only need a power hungry officious person and things will get nasty. It remains to be seen what kind of people will be employed in this capacity. The other strong factor is that this regulatory regime and enforcement definitely will cost the taxpayer. How can it not??? It clearly states in the Act that the relevant resources will be made available for the implementation of this Bill. That means money and where does that money come from? The taxpayer of course. The big fat milkable tit that is looking more and more withered and overworked as the days pass. If i can get a word to sum up this Bill so far, it is Draconian. A secondary term would be Bureaucratic. Bureaucracy by it’s very nature is opposite to production. Opposite to the generation of resource. You are production. The Bill is parasitic. It is so very simple to me. For the Bill to be enforced, it must have energy (manpower, money, time). All that has to come from a resource base. What feeds that resource base? People like you, who take an area of land and make something of it with their bare hands and mental energy.

    It just makes me mad. It is lunacy in the most macro sense possible. It is counter to common sense when you boil it down.

    This Bill could have been ten pages long and had the desired effect. What i also find amazing, is that we have a myriad of chemicals and GMO in our food and yet this is legal. Yet on the other hand, we could have organic free range Chicken being monitored like it is an Al Qaeda sleeper cell on the radar of the CIA.

    Gotta go out and have a quick dip in the ocean to cool off !

  40. The mere fact of threat of fine of this size will beat people into compliance .

    In my eyes we don’t need a single page of this bill .We don’t need to fix something thats not broken simple as that .

    We have to be very careful here The world controllers are at work and going for 200%

    we jump up and down and it gets cut to 100% they get a total win we think we have won but totaly lost .

    john

  41. i am a wwoof host , and part of the things wwoofer are doing is helping us milk the goats. And as we have been doing for a years now we then use our raw goat milk for drink and making cheese for our own usage . Make me think that whether in the current legal framework or the may be upcoming one what we are doing might be outside the law …..

  42. Hi Bernard, the whole WWOOF concept is an interesting one. We were WWOOF hosts for many years. New Zealand is one of the few countries where WWOOFing is regarded as work (I have written confirmation from Min of Labour). All WWOOFers need a current work permit. Most of them don’t have one. WWOOF NZ knowingly sells memberships to people who can not get a work permit (older than 31 years and you can’t get a working holiday visa) and so on. Anyway, since WWOOFing is work, food you give to WWOOFers might be regarded as bartering for profit. The whole bartering/swapping/sharing to me is a nightmarish grey area of foggy definitions anyway. Food bartered for profit falls under the Food Bill but according to the minister swapping with neighbors not. They even give an example on their own web page swapping fish with neighbors! Which I believe is a difficult one. In your case (and ours, we are milking goats as well) it is made even more risky because we are talking about raw milk here. The whole situation, no matter if current law or future law is a mess.

  43. The way i read it Woofing will be illegal as will paying a farm worker in meat .As it is today a worker getting a steer and a pig as part of their wage package is very common on most farms

  44. I am (and many people I know) extremely concerned about the New Food Bill Legislation. It is “OUR RIGHT” to grow and give away Home Grown Produce & Plants to Family/Whananu, Friends, Neighbours or be able to Purchase or Grow organically. The Change in the NZ Food Bill will prevent this. Farmers Markets, Boot Sales, School Gala’s, will all be terminated-SERIOUSLY!!! HAVE YOUR SAY! Reject the FOOD BILL. Petition all MP’s TODAY, before it worms it’s way into our society and daily life and takes away our basic human rights to do what we want with the food we grow.

  45. Below is a summary of the background to the development of NZ Food Bill 160-2.
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/Regulatory_Impact-Specifically_Covers.pdf
    – this litany however, contains none of the stuff to which objections appear to be necessary – it has all come in under following rubric: “the entire food bill would be drafted using a modern drafting style (sic!) and would present as a package” (see below).
    It is a real Stealth Bomber………to effectuate: an export led recovery for New Zealand, the domestic food regulatory regime is the platform for exports. The New Zealand domestic standard is used as the basis for negotiating equivalence arrangements with our trading partners. This minimizes the excessive importing country requirements that may be imposed but which do not go to food safety:

    The tracks of the perpetrators are well covered; they have spent a LOT of money on it. It has been going on since 2003 but ramped up in 2006 and shoved ahead in 2009. $2.5 million was allocated in only two of these years (presumably 2008-2009) but dates not precise anyway $2.5 million in 2 years …and who knows how much was spent during the entire period to date.

    The background is contained in the Regulatary Impact Statement (RIS) (2009) – the PDF indicated above – [which considers two options: 1) amendment to the existing Food Bill; 2) a (new) revised food bill]
    A Domestic Food Review was initiated in May 2003 and ran for 4 yrs to 2007. The review was actually developed by October 2006.
    In October 2006, policy proposals (unknown proposers) for drafting a Food Bill based on NZFSA Domestic Food Review (DFR) ++ various consultations were presented to government (initiated by New Zealand Food Safety Authority NZFSA)
    RIS was updated to 2008
    By 2009 a Revised Food Bill was ready for introduction … development on this had commenced Feb 2007 …. {over the last 2 years (sic!)} ie 2007-2008.
    In April 2009 Cabinet agreement to change (of the Food Bill) was obtained subject to comparison of the two options mentioned previously ie. 1) amendment to the existing Food Bill; 2) a revised food bill in order to pursue the objective of “export led recovery” for the New Zealand economy…………………….

    Pertinent points
    Page1 [quote] Significantly for an export led recovery for New Zealand, the domestic food regulatory regime is the platform for exports. The New Zealand domestic standard is used as the basis for negotiating equivalence arrangements with our trading partners. This minimizes the excessive importing country requirements that may be imposed but which do not go to food safety. [unquote]
    Main Justifications for the New Food Bill were stated as follows:
    The Food Bill will result in:
    1) Modern efficient legislation ???????????????????? (according to what standard)
    2) Improved Business Certainty ???????????????????????? (for what businesses)
    3) Minimized Compliance Cost ???? (how measured)
    Major Statements indicating the direction taken as represented in the PDF above are:
    Page 21 Item 9:
    NZFSA commenced a Domestic Food Review (DFR) in May 2003. The DFR covered all food sold in New Zealand, whatever its source and whatever the processes by which it reached the point of sale. At point of entry into New Zealand, all imported food falls within the scope of the regulatory regime that applies to all New Zealand food.
    Item 10:
    Food produced in New Zealand for export (i.e. that at no stage enters the New Zealand food supply) did not fall within the ambit of the DFR. However, it is important to note, that food produced in New Zealand for export must meet the same standards of safety and suitability that apply to food for consumption in New Zealand).
    Page 42 item 94:….[quote] …the entire food bill would be drafted using a modern drafting style (sic!) and would present as a package.[unquote]
    Page 43 item 104: $2.5 million provided in the last two years (since 2009 ?) for development of tools required for implementation of a new food regulatory regime…..[unquote]

    Countries mentioned as being used to reference “international best practices”:
    Subtitle Comparison with international best practices
    Page 42 section 95. [quote] The decision to move towards risk based tools is in line with how food safety is being managed in many other countries and regions, and is how New Zealand manages exports. NZFSA researched and analyzed how other countries and regions were delivering on food safety as part of the DFR. This included analysis of the food safety systems that operate in Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Aust ralian States of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These food safety systems are all risk based and focus on the management of food safety risks by the food business operator. They vary, however, in the amount of input that is expected of the food business operator.
    96. It is the United Kingdom (UK) Safer Food Better Business programme that has formed the basis of proposals in the ‘fundamental’ aspects listed in paragraph 17 and adapted to suit the New Zealand food regulatory environment. This programme has proved very successful in the UK. In a recent UK survey, those food businesses that are operating under the Safer Food Better Business programme are able to identify the added value that it has contributed to their operations.[unquote]
    ================

    Now, to understand the true implications of Food Bill 160-2 it is absolutely necessary to read the document concerned: You may see it here:
    Food bill 160-2
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0160/latest/DLM2995811.html

    FB 160-2 facilitates capital acquisition by Multinational Food Corporations. Why introduce “seed controls” and private “food-police”? Why beat-up on small producers and force them into expensive registration and needless production protocols masquerading under the necessity for ensuring “standards of food hygiene”? Why legislate an uncontrolled capacity to violate (without warrant) the sanctity of Kiwi homes in search of seeds, food and food-related products and so forth? The answer is to reduce competition and force everyone to eat industrial food products.
    What of the wish to control home-produced seeds (which will automatically result in reduced biodiversity)? The Bill is a misguided attempt to control all aspects of food production and use. On a Global basis it will simplify food production under the control of Big Business and will result in the same inherent instability as is currently built into the World Financial System but now as a fundamental population control mechanism (food is life).

    If New Zealand’s average temperature suddenly increases by a couple of degrees (or perhaps even by one only) then all the industrially “approved” seeds fail along with the majority of crops associated with International Corporations. From an ecological perspective Food Bill 160-2 is a dangerous document and it spells “goodbye to sound eco-agricultural systems as well as National Sovereignty, hello national Subservience” at the behest of WTO and the well-known funding source standing behind that organization
    The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has a commission governing a work-program called “Codex Ailimentaris” (Food Code) which is crudely a data-base covering food products, contaminants, suggested tolerable levels thereof and so on and so forth. But this is merely a passive instrument whereas the NZ food bill is an active control implement and the World Trade Organization (WTO) appears to have had a big hand in this.

    I have a back-yard garden and share seeds with friends and family just as my Dad taught me while I was growing up on our sheep-farm in the Waikato. As an Ecologist (PhD) as well as a retired senior United Nations Official I have no difficulty in sussing out the so-called economic imperatives that govern this “Food Bill”. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is NOT a UN organization; however, WTO has “weaponised” FAO’s “Codex Ailimentaris” and is now using it against us. The recommendations assembled in Codex Ailimentaris (under the watchful husbandry of Agribusiness lobbyists) now become the de facto “standards” to be used in any international trade dispute where the fitness of food-product with respect to purpose is called into question. Therefore the whole of New Zealand’s domestic food-supply must be beaten into a shape that coincides with biased international protocols, (hence the wide-ranging police-Gestapo powers bestowed under Food Bill 160-2)..

    Unfortunately our Kiwi civil servants and many of our elected officials have little idea concerning “Global Agendas” and are anxious to sign up to just about anything (including an off-territory template “law” which itself must have cost WTO millions of dollars to develop) in order to be seen as a “most favoured Nation”. Vassal-state is more like it.

    IMHO, as one who has pursued a life-long career as an Environmental Analyst and as an activist in the International Arena a careful assessment of the true ecological effects (reduction of biodiversity) as well as the direct social engineering and management intensions that this food bill will enable, should be accorded the very highest priority by New Zealanders. Little on the National scene is more important than this one!
    There is a way to protect consumers from unsanitary food and food products, to ensure that exported food is “fit for purpose” and to preserve the Kiwi “way of Life” but Food Bill 160-2, as it is currently presented, is not the way forward. None of the objectionable items above mentioned were in any way overtly mentioned in the background documentation which was used to justify the related work-program from 2003 to the present. Instead, the work was undertaken with a hidden agenda in mind that can only be understood by comparing the nature and details of the emergent Food Bill 160-2 with the placid and operationally agreeable language used to justify the bill in the first place. The level of nit-picking that has been used to apparently “trash” the option of merely “updating” the existing Food Bill is truly bizarre and completely one-sided – a typical administrative ploy to ensure that a “new” and “shiny” food bill was the right option for New Zealand.
    http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/Regulatory_Impact-Specifically_Covers.pdf

    The New Model Food Law, FAO, 2005
    http://www.fao.org/legal/legstud/ls87/ls87e.pdf
    (the appendix at the end with three versions thereof) is the one that has been used as the template for Food Bill 160-2 – too many segments with the same wording not to be so. Food Bill 160-2 is the same as this “New Model Law” except on steroids ie the seed stuff is not in it the template but the warrant-less searches etc are.
    Regards
    Robin Harger
    Director, UNESCO (Retired)

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