Tuesday, 21 October 2014
New laws to reduce red-tape for food businesses
New laws to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly this week will reduce red-tape for several food businesses and community groups by removing the need for not-for-profit groups to appoint a food safety supervisor when fundraising, Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher announced today.
"The ACT Government listened to the concerns raised by members of the community about some of the requirements that were placed on local community groups and sporting clubs when it came to handling and selling food, and these changes address these concerns," the Chief Minister said.
"The proposed legislation also seeks to strike the right balance to reduce regulatory burden on food businesses, while at the same time protecting the high standards of food safety enjoyed by the Canberra community when eating out."
If passed, the Bill will reduce red tape for businesses that sell only shelf-stable foods, including packaged cereals, breads and long life milk. These businesses, which pose a low risk to public safety, will no longer have to notify ACT Health of their operation.
The Bill will also allow food businesses to register for up to three years as a further red tape reduction measure. Currently, all businesses must register annually.
"Within the community sector, the Bill removes the requirement for fundraising non-profit community organisations to register and appoint a Food Safety Supervisor, regardless of the types of food being sold. This will not only reduce the regulatory burden on these organisations, but support the sale of more nutritious options, such as fruit salad and soups at fundraising food stalls," the Chief Minister said.
"The ACT Government will continue to improve its online resources to make it easier for food businesses and community organisations to understand food safety requirements and their role in protecting public health.
"As an important food safety measure, it is intended that all food-related activities conducted at large public events, such as the National Multicultural Festival, will continue to be regulated however the ACT Government will establish a streamlined process for event registration.
"ACT Health is committed to working with industry and has established a Food Regulation Reference Group to collaboratively discuss food regulatory issues and improve communication between ACT Health and the food sector. The group, which held its first meeting in September 2014, comprises representatives from industry, government and public health organisations," the Chief Minister concluded.
Further information about the proposed options to deregulate businesses operating in the food sectors is available by calling the Health Protection Service on 6205 1700.