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Council rules drive bakery to plastic

Flagstaff Team

Cover up… Baked Devonport bakery has had to cover its bread after a complaint from a Devonport resident

A local bakery says it had no choice but to turn to plastic packaging after a complaint from a Devonport resident.

Baked Devonport had been displaying unwrapped bread on shelving, until the complaint, which resulted in a visit from Auckland Council.

Bakery owner Tony Curach said that food-safety officers rushed down “immediately” and advised that the bakery wrap all its bread in plastic.

“They don’t want you to use it, but then they force you to use it,” he says. “Auckland council are a bunch of morons.”

Auckland Council also advised Curach that the netting he was using to cover cabinet food was unsatisfactory, and said he must use plastic domes.

Council environmental health manager Mervyn Chetty said: “The café was visited by a food-safety officer, who advised staff that under the Food Act 2014, all food must be protected from contamination and therefore needed to be covered. The café was not advised to wrap everything in plastic, but simply advised to cover food displayed on the counter.”

Baked Devonport staff member Jack Holland says that Auckland Council didn’t offer any advice on plastic alternatives for covering the products.

Belmont bakery Wild Wheat has its bread unwrapped on a shelf behind the counter, which Auckland Council says is acceptable.

But because the bread at Baked is on shelving on the customer side of the shop, the fact it was uncovered did not comply with the Food Act.

Curach says that plastic is the most economical option for the business, as the bread must be visible through the packaging and ‘eco’ options are costlier.

“We’re not going to put ourselves out of business because of ridiculous costs,” says Curach.

Local resident and Baked customer Susan Thomas said: “Baked produces amazingly fresh local bread, which is now forced into plastic. I am extremely saddened and frustrated by this enforcement.”

This article originally appeared in the May 17 edition of The Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.