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Sausage sizzles saved by Food Bill changes

The new rules would be in place in time for summer events this year. Photo / Thinkstock
The new rules would be in place in time for summer events this year. Photo / Thinkstock

The humble sausage sizzle has been saved.

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced changes to the Food Bill that would ensure communities would still be able to continue fundraising involving the sale of food.

"Since the Food Bill had its first reading, people have expressed concerns that it could have placed unnecessary regulation and compliance on community and fundraising groups. We have listened to those concerns and the relevant changes to the bill will go back to select committee for consideration," Ms Kaye said today.

The changes relate to community activities including 'Kiwiana' activities such as sausage sizzles and school fairs.

The changes to the legislation were to provide a flexible, risk-based food safety system that would accommodate about 85,000 food premises and more than 250,000 jobs, Ms Kaye said.

"The Food Bill is comprehensive and replaces the current legislation and regulations plus at least 34 separate sets of food safety bylaws around New Zealand.

"It is challenging to draw the line in the appropriate place on how much regulation will ensure safe and suitable food for consumers when dealing with the differences in scale from a community sausage sizzle through to a multi-national food producer," she said.

Meanwhile, Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain announced that spot prizes at events are also safe.

He said feedback from event organisers and members of the public showed overwhelming support for changes to rules around spot prize draws.

Currently, when spot prizes are used at events such as fishing competitions and fun runs, they can be classed as gambling under the Gambling Act which means organisers have to comply with a raft of rules.

"Public consultation on our discussion document showed the rules are too restrictive and the paperwork required onerous. Gambling is not the primary purpose of these events, so all these regulations are not required,'' Mr Tremain said.

Under new proposals, events could be exempt from the Gambling Act if they met certain criteria such as the prize draw being secondary to the main event, the draw being available only to people participating in the event and the event having a community benefit.

"That will mean organisers will be able to offer spot prizes, regardless of the value of the prize, without needing to apply for a licence," Mr Tremain said.

The new rules would be in place in time for summer events this year.

- APNZ

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