New food act could result in fines for selling homemade hangi

Last year there were talks that selling homemade hangi without a licence could land people with a $450 fine.

Last week on March 1st The Food Act 2014 came into play. The act is "designed to modernise food safety in New Zealand. It will make it easier for businesses to make sure their food is safe,” says Deputy Director-General Regulation and Assurance Scott Gallacher at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

"Anyone who starts a business that involves food must follow the new law. This includes anything from restaurants, to corner dairies, market stalls, or internet cake sellers."

The influx of food groups on Facebook where people sell homemade goods has resulted in a large number of complaints to the New Plymouth District Council.

The New Plymouth District Council's manager of regulatory services Mary-Anne Priest spoke to Stuff.co.nz last year and said:

"The staff here have said they've handled more complaints about food recently than ever before. People are seeing food for sale on websites and ringing the council to see if it's ok,"

"When we contact the sellers a lot of them seem a little bit unaware that they are required to be licensed. Once we have spoken to them a lot of them have stopped selling."

She said one-off sales for fundraising events were exempt and the council was not concerned about those.

"But we will go and investigate if people are selling for personal gain."