Government slashes red tape for grocery sector

Press Release 01/08/2011

The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council (FGC) congratulates the Government and Medsafe for new Medicines Act regulations, which come into force today.

“The new regulations unshackle a range of low-risk grocery categories from unnecessary double-regulation that has exasperated FGC members for the last 30 years and denied Kiwis access to many consumer products available inAustraliaand elsewhere around the world, says Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

“Before todayNew Zealandstood out in the world of red tape for using the same regulatory force as pharmaceutical drugs for everyday grocery products such as fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, nappy rash cream, face cleansers and anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners”.

“These products are significant supermarket categories amounting to almost $90 million in sales each year”.

“Such heavy-handed rules, a peculiarity of theNew Zealandmarket, regularly left many company leaders with international experience shaking their heads in disbelief. But over the years it’s been theNew Zealandconsumer who has missed out the most. The prohibitive cost of the medicines registration process, which could take companies up to two years, meant that many new grocery product variants weren’t released inNew Zealandat all”.

"The new regulations, which come into force today, will make doing business in this country much easier for our members by reducing millions of dollars in compliance costs and aligning rules withAustralia.New Zealandshoppers will also get greater access to new products at the same time as other countries, not years after the rest of the world”.

“It’s important to note that cutting this red tape makes absolutely no difference to the safety ofNew Zealandconsumers. All of these products, which from today will no longer be regulated under the Medicines Act, are already required to meet strict product standards overseen by the Environmental Risk Management Authority”, Mrs Rich said.