Food Safety

Do you run a café or restaurant? Maybe you own a dairy? Or sell produce to the supermarket? If your business involves selling or providing food, in any form, have a look at MPI's great tool to make it easy to see how the Food Act 2014 applies to you.  

Visit the MPI website and use 'Where Do I Fit?'

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016 and takes a risk-management approach to food. Similarly, new Food Regulations 2015 also came into force on 1 March 2016.

The Food Act applies to all businesses that make, sell, grow, transport, or trade in food. It also applies to businesses that serve food like school canteens or clubs.

The Act recognises that each business is unique and outlines different requirements for businesses based on the food they produce and the associated level of risk.

For example, the Act introduces a sliding scale where businesses that have a high food safety risk will operate under more stringent food safety requirements (Food Control Plans) and businesses that have a lower food safety risk will operate under less stringent requirements (National Programmes).

The Act also provides an exemption to allow Kiwi charity fundraisers, such as sausage sizzles or home baking sales, to take place.  Food handler guidance will be provided for these operations.

Find more information about the new Food Act on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

Registration of food businesses

Local councils will have a role in the registration of food businesses and keeping a record of food businesses selling food, the type of food sold, where the businesses are located, etc.

We will:

  • Issue the registration for your food business.
  • Perform the food safety verifications.
  • Depending on the type of business, the Food Act requires that all food businesses register under one of the three options:
    • A template Food Control Plan (FCP)
    • A National Programme (NP)
    • A custom-made Food Control Plan.

What is a Food Control Plan (FCP)?

A template Food Control Plan (FCP) is a step by step guide on food safety procedures that can be tailored to suit the needs of your business.

It's a management tool for food business operators.  It includes pre-printed records, forms and a diary.

Operating with the FCP will help your business meet its food safety and suitability requirements and demonstrate your commitment to food safety.

 Find out more information about Food Control Plans.

What is a National Programme?

A National Programme is a lower risk based measure where businesses will have to follow requirements for producing safe food set out in regulations.  The business must be registered with council and will be subject to periodic checks (verification).  These are verified by MPI approved verifiers.  At this stage Council is not recognised to verify National Programmes.

Events, markets, food stalls

If food is sold more than once in a calendar year that is not for fundraising purposes, the activity is subject to registration under the Food Act 2014.

If you sell food at a single one-off event only once in a calendar year, you do not need to register – but you still need to ensure you make safe and suitable food.  

Selling food as a fundraiser

You don't have to register under the Act if you're selling food:

  • To raise funds for a charity, cultural or community group less than 20 times a year.
  • Provided by members of sports clubs, social clubs or marae – where food is not the purpose of the event.
  • Once in a calendar year at an event such as a local fair.
  • However, you will have to register under the Act if you're:
  • Fundraising more than 20 times a year.
  • Catering events at clubs, or selling food at club bars or restaurants.
  • Bartering or exchanging food commercially.
  • Selling food commercially at fairs, markets, or community events more than once a year.

Related links

Complaints about a food business

Email if you have concerns or complaints about food premises relating to:

  • Premises cleanliness
  • Rubbish dumped outside the premises
  • Food display or storage
  • Food hygiene practices
  • Foreign object found in food
  • Smells coming from a food premises
  • Food safety issues
  • Illegal operation of food business

If you think you have a foodborne illness as a result of food you have purchased and eaten, refer to the "making a food complaint" section of the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

We do not handle complaints about the quality of service, or the palatability or presentation of food.  These issues should be raised with the premises' management.


The Food Act requires the Council to undertake compliance and monitoring activities across the District.

Food Safety officers appointed by the Council have a variety of powers such as seizing or detaining any article believed to contravene food law, the closure of a food premises until it complies with the requirements of the law and in worst cases, prosecution.


Page reviewed: 12 Aug 2019 3:56pm