Interrupting normal transmission to discuss important legal and political stuff ...
A proposed overhaul to NZ's Food Act (the Food Bill) has been in the media a bit lately, but I was finding it hard to untangle the facts. After being commissioned to write an article about it, I decided the only thing to do was read the whole darn Food Bill myself.
Okay, yes, I did skim some bits! But others I read thoroughly and repeatedly - especially those that applied to small-scale trading of food within communities. I found things that concerned me.
The article will be out next month [update 30 Oct: It's in the November issue of Taste, and I think it hits stores this week]. In the meantime I've put up a note on Facebook, containing my interpretation of and personal concerns about the Food Bill.
I have strong sympathy with the view that very small-scale home food trades should be treated like gifts - i.e. not covered by central government legislation at all. But unfortunately I don't see this happening, so my focus is on how the way they are covered by the legislation should be altered.
Particularly I think many of these very small-scale trades should be explicitly exempted from having to register a food plan (or having to apply individually for an exemption from registration).
Direct swaps and sales of your home-grown horticultural produce already are explicitly exempted from registration in the Bill. But more processed food like home-made jams, pickles, baking, cheese, etc. do - according to the Bill - require you to register a food plan in order to barter or sell them - even in the tiniest amount. That seems silly and wrong to me.
If you want to read more of my summary and thoughts, they're here on Facebook.
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