Food Businesses

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016.

The Act places a responsibility on food business operators to ensure that the food they sell is safe and suitable to eat.

In summary, this means that:


  • 'Safe food' won't make people sick
  • 'Suitable’ food' meets compositional, labelling and identification requirements and is in the right condition for its intended use.

Businesses that are higher risk, from a food safety point of view, will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower-risk food businesses. The new food safety measures are:

Council will continue to be a regulatory authority so will continue to issue registrations for food businesses and will also perform food safety verifications for Template Food Control Plans. National Programmes are checked by Verifiers who are professionals from an independent agency.

The Food Control Plan (FCP)

A template Food Control Plan 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.

You can view or print the template FCP and diary from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Website.

The National Programme

Lower and medium risk businesses follow a national programme. This means they don't need to use written food control plans, but must register the business, meet food safety standards, keep some records, and get checked (verified).

There are three levels of National Programmes:

  • NP 3 - Higher Risk
  • NP 2 - Medium Risk
  • NP 1 - Lowest Risk

These businesses are required to registered every two years. Although the council undergoes the registration function, the verification must be carried out by an approved verifier.

Verifiers are professionals from an independent agency who will visit your business to check you are selling safe and suitable food. Before we register your food business, you need to choose a verifier. Ask them for confirmation that they will verify your business and include this in your registration application.

MPI maintains a list of auditors who can verify your business.

For more information, please view the MPI web page Information on National Programmes, or contact Food and Health Standards.

Transition period

There is a transition period for these changes to take place and for all food businesses to be registered under the Food Act 2014 .

The transition for types of food premises will follow according to a transition schedule.

For more information, see the MPI website

Among the group that needs to register by 31 March 2018 are:

  • cafes without an alcohol licence
  • bakeries
  • caterers
  • rest homes
  • dairies
  • convenience stores
  • service stations
  • some food manufacturers

A more detailed summary can be found on the MPI website.

If you have any questions regarding setting up a food business or the registration process please to do not hesitate to call Food and Health Standards.

Food Act Case Studies

MPI have created case study videos, which show real businesses operating under the new Food Act.

Useful Links