The Food Act 2014 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. You can find more information about the Food Act on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.
Please direct questions to MPI on its food safety helpline 0800 693 721 or by email at [email protected]. Alternatively, you can contact an Environmental Health Officer at Masterton District Council on 06 370 6300.
Do I Need to Register?
Under the Food Act 2014, some food businesses and community groups are not required to operate under a food control plan or a national programme. This applies to some fundraising and community group food activities and some businesses where food activities are low risk, either because they don’t happen often or cater to only a small number of people,
However, even though registration is not required food must be safe and suitable to eat and you may also need to complete a food stall application form.
Fundraising and community group exemptions
You don’t need 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. You may, however, need to apply for a food stall license.
- 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.
Businesses and education provider’s exemptions
Types of businesses that don’t need a food control plan or programme include:
- Home-based childcare providers who prepare food for children in their care.
- Small accommodation operators who provide food to fewer 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 manufacturer 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.
- Clubs, organisations and societies where members produced food for other members at events or gatherings held and attended by members and where the trade in food is not the purpose of the event.
New Food Businesses
If you are considering opening a new food business, read Notebook (PDF, 894KB), this is a guide produced by MPI that will give you a roadmap for planning and obtaining all the required verifications. In addition to our Environmental Health Team, you can also work with our planning and building consents teams to ensure you meet all the relevant health and building regulations.
The Planning Team can offer advice on our District Plan and information on parking requirements, advertising and likely future patterns of development in that area. Building Development Facilitators can help with construction requirements, change of use conditions, grease traps, plumbing and drainage, egress, number of sanitary fixtures and access for disabled people. A building consent will be required for any work done.
The Environmental Health Officers can provide information on health requirements, inspections and issuing a registration to sell food.
Before operating, you must obtain a certificate of registration and operate under the appropriate risk-based measure.
It is an offence to sell food without registration.
Applying for Food Licences
Depending on the scope of your food business, you will need to register to operate under either a Food Control Plan (FCP) or a National Programme (NP). To find out which plan suits your business see the MPI website’s My Food Rules tool.
The following Food Control Plans or National Programmes can be registered with us:
- Template food control plans — you build your plan from templates designed by MPI.
- Three levels of National Programmes, depending on the degree of food safety (medium to lower risk food processes/activities) associated with the food business.
- Level 3 for higher risk (NP L3).
- Level 2 for medium risk (NP L2).
- Level 1 for lower risk (NP L1).
You could also develop your own custom food control plan and register it as a custom food control plan with MPI.
Submit the application and MPI scope of operations forms with supporting documents and fee to us. We may request further information and/or arrange for an on-site visit prior to the registration being granted.
You may also need a Trade Waste Licence.
Food control plan
Verification will be carried out by an Environmental Health Officer if your business is:
- A new food business
- A food business that was exempt from registration under Food Hygiene Regulations 1974
- An existing food business changing owner and registered under FCP.
Council is approved to complete verifications of some National Programmes. You will need to nominate your verifier, either council if applicable, or a third party verifier to complete the verification.
Purchasing a Food Business
Speak to an Environmental Health Officer before you purchase an existing food business that is registered under:
- Food Hygiene Regulations 1974
- Voluntary Implementation Programme (VIP) — Off-The-Peg Food Control Plan.
- MPI Template Food Control Plan: Food Service and Food Retail sector.
- National Programme.
Food Control Plans, National Programmes and registration certificates under Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 cannot be transferred. When a new owner takes over an existing food business they will need to apply for a new FCP or NP depending on the scope of their business.
If you are planning to make structural changes to existing food premises then you need to contact us to speak to a Building Development Facilitator.
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 as a requirement of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Alcohol can’t be sold until a separate licence has been obtained.
Food stalls for charity or fundraising purposes may be exempt from registering but still need to provide safe and suitable food. If you wish to sell food as a business or for profit you will need to register under a Food Control Plan, or National Programme Level 3, 2 or 1.
Renewing your Registration
We will send you a renewal application form before your registration expires. The renewal letter will tell you how you can pay for your registration renewal. Renewal must be completed before the current registration expires.
Transitioning an Existing Food Business to the New Food Act 2014
If you have a business currently operating under the Food Hygiene Regulations, you will need to transition over to the new Food Act 2014 within the transition period for your sector. You will first need to find out which type of new registration you need, then consult the transition timetable below to see which year you will need to transition.
Use the Where do I Fit? tool on the MPI website to see which type of registration you will need.
Fees and refunds
The new fees that came into effect on 1 March 2016 only apply to premises that are registered under the new Food Act 2014.
Existing premises that have not transitioned, including premises that have registered under food control plan before 1 March 2016, will pay the existing fees. For registration and verification fees of new food premises, and premises that have transitioned to Food Act 2014, see Environmental Health and Licensing fees.
We do not refund surrendered registrations, for example, if a business closes down.