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Stallholders worry about effects of jam police

May 26th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News


CAPTION FOR MAIN: Peter Little's fresh celery at the market price of $1.40 each.

GOVERNMENT plans to ban certain products at markets will hit Waikanae stallholders in the pocket and the heart say locals.

Food products like homemade jams are being hit by food regulations.

This will mean the person in charge of the food operation must register and be “proactive” in the way they manage food safety and be able to demonstrate this.

Stall holder Barbara Chatters says less stalls mean less customers.

“It will affect me to a certain extent because it will put people off coming and so then we won’t get so many customers through.”

Which also means less community atmosphere for some stallholders, who rate the social atmosphere higher than the monetary gain.

A love for their plants, vegetables, and other natural affordable goods bring Waikanae market goers together every Saturday morning, but they love the interaction with the locals just as much.

Fresh bread seller and mother, Helen Arney, thought she would make more money from her products which she sells on behalf of the Waikanae Hot Bread shop, but realises now the profit will always be minimal.

“I thought I’d probably make lots of money out of it but you don’t.”

“I do it mainly now just because we’ve met a lot of people and we’ve built up some good friendships and its fun,” she says.

Elderly herb plant seller and pensioner, Cathy Warnes, agrees that the markets are more of a social gathering than a money maker and says she spends more money there than she makes.

“I’m on a pension it doesn’t make me much, by the time buy labels, compost, potting mix, seed raising mix, all my seeds which I send away for.”

“I don’t think I make that much. I don’t really keep a record of it because it’s just a fun thing, it keeps you busy, she says.”

After attending the markets for three years Mrs Warnes says she has made many friends.

“It’s more of a hobbie than anything and I’ve met a lot of nice people, it’s a friendly thing, it’s a social scene here on a Saturday morning.”

The effects of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority enforcement may be hard to gauge immediately, because stallholders Mrs Chatters and Peter Little say seasonal changes also affect the markets.

They say spring and summer are the best times to be holding the markets because the cold puts the elderly off, as most stalls do not have shelters or covers over their products.

NZFSA Programme manager for food for retail sale, Chris Hewins, says the same food safety guidelines that fulltime manufacturers follow should also be applicable to market stall holders.

“Ignorance of law is no excuse whether its food safety or driving a car,” he says.

People in charge of their market stalls should always be aware of the registration rule however some exemptions may be fundraisers such as sausage sizzles, Mr Hewins says.

Registering their stalls is quite a simple process, people just need to recognise the process, he says.

Stall holders must send in a submission for registration to the environmental health officer at a local council.

Over the next five years NZFSA will change from a focus on an inspection-based system to a “risk-based, self-proactive” system.

The approach will hopefully encourage businesses owners to accept their obligations for their foods safety instead of relying on inspectors.

Mr Hewins also believes that the people who have taken the decision to register their businesses will educate other market stall holders about the registration process and point them in the right direction.

An option Mr Hewins says would be a positive step for many market businesses would be creating a food safety programme.

This means people in charge of businesses record their daily food production process, potential hazards and the prevention of potential hazards.

Private businesses that operate an approved food safety programme do not have to register, or be inspected by the local council.
As an alternative, an independent NZFSA-approved auditor will review the business regularly, he says.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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