FOODSTUFF NEWS New Zealand will now allow online foodstuffs to be sold on the country’s online market.
The move comes after the country imposed a nationwide ban on food products and online sellers last month.
The Government is expected to issue a new foodstuff regulation in the next two weeks.
It will apply to the online market, which will be run by a regulator, the Food and Consumer Affairs Authority.
The market will operate as a single provider, offering a range of goods and services from foodstamp vouchers to nutritional supplements.
The regulator will be able to determine which foods or supplements are acceptable and which are not.
It will also decide what products are subject to quarantine.
The regulator will not be able regulate foodstamps or online sellers.
The Government has said it wants to create a “world-class food safety environment”.
In a statement, the Government said the online marketplace was a “significant opportunity” for small business and consumers.
“We want to make sure that New Zealanders are able to access the foods and products they need to be healthy, and this new regulator is an important step towards that objective.”
In July, the New Zealand Food and Drug Administration (NZFA) banned foodstations from selling certain food products.
In October, the Federal Government announced a ban on online food sales in the United States, saying it was aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Foodstuffs producers said the move was welcomed by food-safety advocates and consumers who had been left out of the decision-making process.
NZFA chief executive Tim Soutphommasane welcomed the new regulator’s ability to “directly regulate the sale of foodstacks and other food products”.
“The new regulation will make it easier for small and medium-sized food businesses to continue to provide quality and safe products to consumers,” he said.
However, food-industry body Food Safety New Zealand said the ban on the sale online of food was a major step backwards and that it would “likely have a detrimental effect on food safety”.
“If the ban is implemented in full, it will put the food industry at significant risk of significant regulatory risk,” the group’s executive director Robyn O’Brien said.
She said there was no evidence that foodstills or online retailers had been able to provide food products to customers safely.
The new regulator will need to obtain a “truly independent and authoritative opinion” from the Food Standards Agency before the regulator can rule on the legality of the online sale.
The NZFA said it welcomed the move to introduce a new regulator to make decisions about the sale and distribution of food.