Tuesday, February 27, 2024

NZ Food Safety serves up new complaint tool

New Zealand Food Safety has launched a new online tool to make it easier for people to report potentially harmful foods.

New Zealand Food Safety deputy director general, Vincent Arbuckle said consumers played an important role in the nation’s food safety system.

“By making a complaint, you are helping to keep your communities safe,” he said.

“If you notice something that isn’t right, we encourage you to let us know so we can get to the bottom of it.

“For the most part, businesses achieve good standards of food safety and work with us to remove any unsafe or non-compliant food to prevent it becoming a bigger issue.

“Of course, there will be some food safety issues which go unreported. Keeping this in mind, we’ve made it easier for people to alert us about potential problems through our new online tool.”

Mr Arbuckle said food recalls were a sign that the system was working to protect people. There have been 93 recalls so far this year. In 2021, NZ Food Safety issued 154 recalls.

He said there had been a wide range of reasons for recalls this year, from chocolate with Salmonella contamination to plastic pieces discovered in cookies.

“Food businesses do a lot of work to monitor their own systems to make sure everything is working as it should. In addition to this, complaints from the public remain an important way to gather information about potential risks,” said Mr Arbuckle.

Users of the new online reporting tool will be guided to provide specific and useful information through a series of drop-down menus.

It includes guidance on what complaints can be made online and which ones should be sent to a local authority, to help ensure any alerts on food safety risks are sent to the right contact.

Anyone that completes an online form, will be contacted by a food compliance officer, who will begin a review and triage process, Mr Arbuckle said.

“Consumers should feel reassured that whatever the reason, if something unusual has happened or been found, even if it seems a ‘one-off’, their reporting helps keep food consumption safe for everyone,” he said.

Access the online tool on the NZFS website: Make a food complaint.

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