Statement re: Prosecution under Food Act 2014

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Sharon Rayner, Bean Me Up Cafe, Kaikōura

 

On 2 December 2022 Sharon Rayner, owner operator of the Bean Me Up Cafe in Kaikōura, was sentenced in the Kaikōura District Court for two charges under the Food Act 2014 brought by the Kaikōura District Council. The charges were knowingly selling non-complying food and failing to comply with a notice of direction under the Food Act 2014.

 

The District Court had previously found Ms Rayner guilty of both charges at a hearing that she did not attend. The District Court has now sentenced Ms Rayner to 2 months imprisonment. The maximum penalty for the charges is 2 years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. The judge stated that Ms Rayner’s refusal to pay previous fines in relation to the case had been taken into consideration in the sentencing decision.

 

Kaikōura District Council CEO Will Doughty said, “It is regrettable that we had no other option but to prosecute Ms Rayner.”

 

“The Court’s ruling is sadly the inevitable conclusion of a year-long process in which Ms Rayner has been provided with numerous opportunities by Kaikōura District Council to comply with the Food Act, as all other food sellers do, and avoid prosecution – opportunities which she chose not to take.”

 

The background to the Court’s decision on 2 December is that Ms Rayner had previously complied with food safety regulations, but in 2021 requested that her valid food registration be withdrawn. She then continued to sell food to the public without food registration measures in place at her cafe Bean Me Up, and has continued to do so right until the day of sentencing.

 

Will Doughty commented, “To not seek prosecution of a food operator who has been given every opportunity to comply with the Food Act by Council and the Court would have been a dereliction of Council’s duties to the public under the safety provisions of the Food Act. It would also have been unfair to other businesses who meet their food safety requirements under the Food Act – indeed many in the same street.”

 

We thank all food operators in Kaikōura District who trade responsibly and in doing so help us protect the health of our community.

 

 Kaikōura District Council