<strong>KiwiHarvest paves way for new food rescue protocol</strong>

KiwiHarvest paves way for new food rescue protocol

Food rescue organisation, KiwiHarvest has developed a new protocol with Haumaru Kai Aotearoa, New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) so that more kai can be rescued and distributed to victims of both the Auckland Anniversary floods, and Cyclone Gabrielle.

Although NZFS has existing guidance for other sectors, food rescue organisations don’t fall under NZFS regulation and therefore didn’t have existing protocols. This means that the safest advice is to dispose of all food that has been in contact with floodwaters.

The Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle left many food businesses with compromised stock. But with thorough cleanings, a large portion could be made safe for consumption (due to secure packaging) and therefore rescued by organisations such as KiwiHarvest, in the hopes of distributing it to those in need.

On the Saturday of the floods, KiwiHarvest found themselves recovering 8,000kgs of flood-affected food from Mairangi Bay Countdown – the equivalent of 22,850 meals – but without the framework needed to get this into the community.

KiwiHarvest CEO, Angela Calver, began working tirelessly with various members of NZFS to test the food, receive expert food safety advice, and ensure that the recovered product was safe for human consumption. Calver was then given the green light to release the majority of the stock to the various community agencies that KiwiHarvest supports.

New Zealand Food Safety Deputy Director-General, Vincent Arbuckle, says, “Safe food is always our number one priority. Working together with KiwiHarvest has helped us understand the practical challenges involved with getting safe food to people in need – and this will help inform our future thinking.”

“While nobody wants to waste food, the last thing anyone who has been caught up in these floods needs is a bout of food poisoning. We provided guidance on how to clean cans and hermetically sealed foods from potentially contaminated flood waters. KiwiHarvest has come up with a cleaning process that we have assessed and tested, allowing them to distribute these products,” adds Arbuckle.

This formed the framework for a new protocol to guide the sector moving forward, and Calver is excited to share it with Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA) members across the nation.

“It’s a privilege to share this protocol with our fellow AFRA members who desperately want to support their communities in times of crisis. We believe that this will make a material difference to the food rescue sector as we fight to keep feeding those most vulnerable. Although it adds an extra step to getting the food to the community, it means that precious resources won’t go to waste due to flooding,” says Calver.

AFRA Engagement and Partnerships Lead, Iain Lees-Galloway explains that, “Food rescue organisations are first responders who feel deeply connected to their local communities.”

“They too are working alongside supermarkets, growers and government agencies to get safe, healthy food to people who need it. By developing and sharing this protocol, KiwiHarvest and NZFS are helping get more rescued food to people impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle,” he says.

Consider donating so KiwiHarvest can we get even more food into communities like these: https://www.kiwiharvest.org.nz/donate

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