Operating a Food Business
If you are opening a new food business or buying an existing food business, you need to understand your responsibilities under the Food Act 2014. Most food businesses need to register either a food control plan or a national programme, depending on the type of food sold and/or made and the level of food safety risk involved. To check what rules apply to your food business, use the My Food Rules tool, an online guide provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
How to register
Apply for registration of a food business by completing the Application for registration under the Food Act 2014 form (PDF, 1.35MB) and submitting it to us with the required fee.
If any of your registration details change, notify us by completing the Application to amend, cancel or suspend a food control plan form (PDF, 712KB).
Change of ownership
If you are purchasing an existing business, you'll need to apply for your own certificate of registration. Registration cannot be transferred.
All food businesses must comply with the Food Act 2014 to ensure safe food production.
Once Council receives your application form and the required payment, you will be sent a certificate of registration within 20 working days. Please note you are not permitted to trade until you receive your certificate of registration.
If you operate under a template food control plan, a verification will be carried out within 6 weeks of registration to ensure compliance with your food control plan.
If you operate under a national programme, you must organise your own verification within 6 weeks of registration. Information about how to find a verifier is available on MPI's website here.
Exemptions from registration under the Food Act 2014
You don't need to operate under a food control plan or national programme if you are:
- selling food for fundraising less than 20 times a year. Fundraising activities include sausage sizzles, raffles and charity events.
- sharing food with others at sports clubs, social clubs or marae where food is not the purpose of the event. For example, providing nibbles at a bowling club games night or serving food at a tangi.
- home-based childcare providers who prepare food for children in their care.
- small accommodation operators who provide food to less than 10 guests.
- growers selling unprocessed, home-grown fruit and vegetables directly to consumers, such as at farm gates or farmers markets.
- people who sell only pre-packaged foods that don't need refrigeration or freezing, like packets of biscuits or cans of food.
- commercial fishing operators providing meals to their crew.
For a full list of exemptions, see Schedule 3 of the Food Act 2014.
Find further information here: Ministry for Primary Industries - exemptions from plans or programmes.
Please note that you will need to get the approval of the owner of the shop outside of which you would like to hold your stall.
Under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, a stall can only be held on a restricted trading day if it is selling "prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately". Any other activity (e.g. selling raffle tickets, promoting services) is prohibited unless the stall is part of a bona fide exhibition or show.
These restrictions apply on Easter Sunday unless you act in accordance with ODC's Local Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy and the requirements of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990.
We'll let you know if your application is approved or declined. If your application is approved, we'll email you a signed copy of the completed form.
How to arrange contact with our Environmental Health team
We encourage you to seek feedback and request further advice at an early stage.
By phone or email
If you would like a member of the team to call or email you to discuss your enquiry, phone us on (07) 315 3030 to lodge a call or email return request or click here to use our request a call or email return online form.
If you'd like to come in and meet with a member of the team, call us on (07) 315 3030 to lodge an appointment request or click here to use our request an appointment online form.
How long will it take us to respond?
We have set a service standard of 5 days to call or email you back to either discuss your enquiry or set an appointment date and time. We have a service standard of 10 working days to meet with you.
If your request is urgent, please note this on the form and we will do our best to respond as quickly as we can. Please note we are a small team and this is not always possible. Any change to our service timeframes is at the discretion of the Planning and Regulatory Group Manager.
Application for registration under the Food Act 2014 (PDF, 1.35MB).
Trading in a public place
Application for trading licence (PDF, 1.46 MB)
Food safety tips for selling food at occasional events (PDF, 1.14MB)
Food safety tips for event organisers guide (PDF, 495KB)
Overview of Food Act 2014
The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. It applies to all businesses that make, sell, grow or transport food commercially. It also applies to businesses that serve food, like school canteens or clubs.
The Food Act 2014 applies to all new food businesses and suppliers. The three year transition period for existing businesses ended on 28 February 2019.
The central feature of the Food Act is a sliding scale where businesses that are higher risk from a food safety point of view operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower risk food businesses.
Higher-risk food businesses - for example those that prepare and sell meals or sell raw meat or seafood - operate under a written food control plan (FCP). In the FCP, businesses identify food safety risks and steps they need to take to manage these risks. The FCP can be based on a template or business owners can develop their own to suit their individual business.
Businesses that produce or sell low to medium risk foods - like non-alcoholic beverages - come under national programmes. There are three levels of national programmes, based on the level of food safety risk.
Businesses under national programmes don't have to register a written plan but do have to make sure they are following the requirements for producing safe food set out in regulations. This includes registering their business details, keeping minimal records and having periodic checks.
The Food Act provides a clear exemption to allow Kiwi traditions like fundraising sausage sizzles or home baking at school fairs to take place. The only rule is that food that is sold must be safe.
Growing food for personal use, sharing it with others, bring a plate' to a club committee meeting, or providing lunch for a visiting sports team or social group, is outside the scope of the Food Act. The Act only covers food that is sold or traded.
To implement the Food Act and support the regulations, MPI has developed a package of materials, including:
- a food control plan development manual to assist food businesses to develop a custom food control plan
- food control plan templates for food retail and food service activities
- guidance for food businesses operating under national programmes
- guidance for food sectors that are exempt from having to operate under a national programme or food control plan
- guidance for verifiers and evaluators of food businesses operating under the new food safety regime.
Visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website to find out more about the Food Act and what it means for you.
Information on the Food Act 2014: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-act-2014/
Using a template food control plan: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-business/running-a-fo...
Working with a national programme: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-business/running-a-fo...