Food Safety

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Food Act 2014

From 1 March 2016, there are new laws for business that sell food. The Food Act 2014 introduces three food sector classifications based on the level of risk that their activities pose to public health -

  • Food control plans;
  • National programmes; and
  • Those not required to operate under a food control plan or a national programme.

Under the new Act, there will be different rules for different businesses, depending on what they make or sell, and to whom.

Find out how it applies to your business – Where do I fit? online tool for businesses

Food Control Plans

Food control plans are a risk-based measure designed for higher-risk food businesses. Food control plans set out what steps a business making or selling food needs to take to make food safe. They are used to identity risks and to show how they are being managed. 

There are two types of food control plans:

• Template food control plans - based on templates issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
• Custom food control plans - developed by the business.

Template food control plans require the following:

• Fill out the plan using the templates below;
• Registration with Council;
• Checks from a recognised verifier (Council); and
• Following the plan to make food safe.

The majority of food businesses in the District will be subject to a template food control plan. These businesses include food service business such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, catering or hospital kitchens; and food retailers that prepare or manufacture food (i.e. butchers, fishmongers, delis and supermarkets). 

Custom food control plans require the following:

• Develop the plan;
• Have it evaluated;
• Registration with MPI;
• Checks from a recognised third party verifier; and
• Following the plan to make food safe.

Food businesses subject to a custom food control plan include manufacturers of high-risk foods (i.e. food for vulnerable populations, fresh ready-to-eat salads and other meals, meat, poultry, fish, dairy or processed egg products).

To find our more information about food control plans, click here

National Programmes

National programmes are a risk-based measure designed for lower-risk food businesses to meet their requirements under the Food Act 2014.

There are 3 levels of national programmes, which are based on food safety risk of the business activities:

• Level 1 - lower risk
• Level 2 - medium risk
• Level 3 - higher risk.

All national programmes require the following:

• Registration with Council; 
• Record keeping to show that you’re selling safe and suitable food; and
• One or more visits from a recognised verifier. 

To find out more information about national programmes, click here

Starting a New Food Business

Information about opening a new business can be found on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

Apply to register your business.

You will need to include the following things with your application:

• A completed application for registration of food business (single site or multi-site).
• A completed scope of operations.
• A copy of the site plan for each site that will be registered.
• A letter from your verification agency if this is not the Council.
• A copy of your certificate of incorporation of your business is a registered company. 
• The $300.00 registration fee.

Other considerations:

If you’re thinking of opening a food business, you may need to consult with other Council staff in addition to Environmental Health, such as:

Planning - Contact Council’s Planner to ensure that you can set up a food business in your chosen area. The zoning of some areas exclude commercial activity and you may need to apply for Resource Consent to operate in some areas. The Planner can also tell you if there are any parking or other planning requirements in your area. 

Building - You may require Building Consent if you are building a new premises or making alterations to an existing premises. Council’s Building Control Officers will be able to advise you whether the work you intend to do requires building consent. They will also be able to provide advice on public toilet requirements for your premises. Depending on the type and volume of food you are preparing, you may also require a grease trap.

Alcohol Licensing - If you intend to sell alcohol on your premises or have patrons bring alcohol for consumption on the premises while dining, you will need to apply for the appropriate licence under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Contact Council’s Licensing Inspector for further information. 

Existing Food Businesses

Existing food businesses (those operating before 1 March 2016) are required to transition onto the requirements of the Food Act 2014.  Different food sectors will transition to the new regime in three stages. By 1 March 2019, all food businesses will be operating under the Food Act 2014. 

Find out when an existing business will transition – MPI transition timetable

Existing Food Businesses with Food Safety Programmes

Food businesses that were granted an exemption from the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 through the voluntary implementation programme (VIP) and currently operate under a food safety programme will be deemed to be a food control plan from 1 March 2016 until 28 February 2019. These businesses have u and currently operate under a food safety programme will be deemed to be a food control plan from 1 March 2016 until 28 February 2019. These businesses have until 30 November 2018 to apply to register under the new Act.

Taking Over an Existing Food Business

Food business registrations are not transferable; this means that if you take over an existing business you will need to apply to register the food business in your name before you start operating the business. 


Registered food businesses are required to renew their registration annually. See Council’s fees and charges.


Verification (audit) is a check by an approved verifier (either Council or a third party verifier) to assess the ongoing compliance of the food business with the Act, Regulations and Standards, and compliance with the businesses food control plan or national programme. 

New food businesses will be verified within 1 month of being registered, and existing food businesses will be verified within 3 months of being registered. 

The frequency of verification will depend on business type and performance, but will usually be annual. 

Date and time of verification will be scheduled with the operator of the food business. The process for verification of a food business is as follows:

1. Schedule appointment for verification (1-month prior)
2. Entry meeting 
3. Follow-up from previous verification outcomes
4. Confirmation that new or changes requirements have been actioned
5. Check compliance with any conditions of approval
6. Visual review of operations, including documentation and record checks, reality check and discussions with staff
7. Exit meeting
8. Corrective Action Requests (CARs)
9. Report (within 7 days) and grading
10. Follow-up action

Fundraising and Community Events

If you intend to sell food at a stall or community event to raise funds for an organisation, group or charity, it must be ‘safe and suitable’ to eat – essentially, no one should get sick from eating your food.

Find out how to make safe and suitable food here.

Market Guidance

Selling Food for Fundraising

Less than 20 times a year - you do not have to register with Council if you are selling food. However, you will still need to complete and return the form for selling food at fundraising and community events, to ensure food sold will be ‘safe and suitable’. 

20 or more times a year - you are defined as a business under the Food Act 2014 and will register with Council. You may need to adopt a food control plan or national programme. Use the Where Do I Fit? tool to help find out what you may need to do.

Useful Links

Food safety tips for selling food at occasional events

Food safety tips for event organisers 

Hot tips for safe and successful sausage sizzle 


Application for single-site food business

Application for multi-site food business

MPI Scope of Operations

Fundraising and community events form

Food Control Plan Templates

2015 Food Control Plan - Basics Pack

2015 Food Control Plan - Retail Basics

2015 Food Control Plan - Diary

Specialist sections

2015 Food Control Plan - Serve Safe

2015 Food Control Plan - Baking Safe

2015 Food Control Plan - Fish Safe

2015 Food Control Plan - Butchery Safe

2015 Food Control Plan - Deli Safe


MPI: Food Act 2014

MPI: Food Safety

New Zealand Legislation: Food Act 2014