The kiwis have been trying to get some sort of food safety reform bill through parliament for years so, with the deck chairs shuffled or thrown overboard, why not try again.
The New Zealand Herald reports a bill bringing sweeping reform to food safety standards is being criticized for giving food safety officers excessive power and threatening the viability of small-scale food sellers and backyard community food swaps.
The bill, which is almost certain to become law with the support of most political parties, would replace 30-year-old legislation, which falls short of properly protecting consumers, and create a new framework for food safety.
But small operators fear that new compliance costs could push them under, while others have concerns about the bill’s effects on community food swaps and growers who sell small amounts to retailers.
An online petition, which says the bill impedes the basic right to share food, has gathered almost 24,000 signatures.
There is also concern over the powers of food safety officers, who could search premises without a warrant in some circumstances and use any force necessary to enter and search, while being immune from civil or criminal liability.
While the Government has dismissed some criticism, Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson is seeking advice on how to ensure the bill would not affect the current rules on food swaps and selling and exchanging seeds.
The new safety framework is expected to be simpler. At the top end, businesses such as restaurants would need a rigid food plan, while places considered less risky, such as bakeries, would have to comply with a more flexible national program.