Despite the name, it wasn’t until last that the Food Act 2014 came into force, which required businesses to operate under stricter food safety requirements. Any business which deals in food will need to either create a custom Food Control Plan (large businesses) or follow a set of national guidelines (small and medium businesses). The new Act promotes food safety by focusing on the processes of food production, not the premises where food is made.
MPI, through registered auditors and local councils, carries out inspections of premises and evaluates the plan, ensuring that foodservice businesses are up to standard. The new Act includes a better compliance system and generally, food businesses that consistently provide safe and suitable food can achieve lower compliance costs.
The law requires that “No person shall use any premises for the storage of readily perishable foods for sale unless the premises are equipped with a sufficient number of cold store rooms or refrigerated cabinets to provide for separate storage of those foods.” The Food Act 2014 requires all refrigeration units to be equipped with a fixed thermometer or other temperature measuring device, and that the unit be capable of achieving and maintaining the food temperature required by the regulations – different food types fall under different requirements.
Refrigeration plays a large role in the Food Control Plan of a foodservice business – it will outline set procedures for things like cleaning, maintaining equipment, and ensuring food is cooked and stored correctly. If a refrigeration unit is substandard, for whatever reason, this can undermine the integrity of even the best-made Food Control Plans. The consequences can be harsh – fines, or even forced closure.