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New Zealand’s food code revisions could be stalled by quake

Sunday, November 13, 2016 23:49
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It is not known if the deadly 7.5 magnitude earthquake that stuck New Zealand just after midnight local time Monday will slow work on minor changes to the country’s Food Standards Agency.

On Friday before the big quake, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) asked for the public’s help on the changes with Dec. 16 as the deadline for submissions. Monday’s earthquake produced waves more than 8 feet higher than usual tide levels and numerous aftershocks. The quake was blamed for at least two deaths by Prime Minister John Kay.

The earthquake was centered near Hanmer Springs, two hours north of Christchurch and it shook both the North and South islands of New Zealand.

FRANZ had just asked for the public’s help in correcting typographical errors, inconsistencies and formatting improvements in the country’s Food Standards Code.

“The proposed amendments are all relatively minor in nature. No potential public health and safety concerns have been identified,” said Steve McCutcheon, FRANZ chief executive.
“FSANZ is consulting on the proposed changes with government agencies and is notifying stakeholders. Members of the public are welcome to provide comments.”

All FSANZ decisions on proposals are notified to ministers responsible for food regulation who can decide to ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.

While its too early to tell if food safety challenges are being experienced in the aftermath of the quake, its a good bet editing the food code might have to take a backseat for a while.

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