Food Control Plans and Food Compliance in New Zealand

The Food Act 2014 is designed to make sure food sold in New Zealand is safe for the consumer. But, most significantly, it has changed the way businesses must manage their food production and distribution.

With this new focus being on the process of food production rather than the premises they are made/sold in it means that every business in New Zealand selling or supplying food must comply.

Read the full act here.

Coverage of the 5 primary areas below will help you keep your verifier happy and ensure you are trading legally.

  1. Food Control Plan – This is a blueprint for your business. It lays out your risks and systems to demonstrate how they are being managed. The purpose of your food control plan is to tie all of your food compliance requirements up into one document. It will allow you to run your business with the welfare of your customers as a central focus. Your verifier will check this as part of your grading.

  2. Record Keeping System – The records you keep demonstrate that your FCP is being implemented and your procedures followed every day. You can take a more traditional pen and paper approach to this or you may find a paper-free solution such as FCP Log is better suited to your business. These will also be checked by your verifier.

  3. Staff Training – All staff must be trained in all areas of food handling and safe practice. A training record must be signed by you and your staff. Your verifier will also check this as part of your grading.

  4. Registration of your Food Business – To run any food business you need to register it with your local Council or MPI. Who you register with depends on what type of business you are. You must have your registration in place before you start trading.

  5. Verification – All food businesses need to be checked to make sure they are selling safe food. This will be completed by someone from your Council or an independent verifier, depending on your type of registration. The verifier will check that you are following good safety practices and keeping records.

What kind of food registration do you need?

The kind of food control plan you need developed and how you will go about registering it depends on the type of food you make and what level of risk it poses. Check out the diagram below to see if you can find where your business fits.

Every business is unique!

Every day I have the pleasure of talking to businesses that find themselves in the ‘grey areas’, those spaces usually in between the different levels. New Zealanders are world famous for our ingenuity and creativity, our food business owners are brilliant at finding ‘the thing’ that no one else is doing quite the same. Seek some advice before submitting your fees if you need to.

If you are one of these businesses please flick me an email on I’d love to help!

Areas of Compliance often overlooked by Business Owners

Sometimes with compliance it can feel like an uphill battle. You get one area of compliance sorted and in place, then another rears its ugly (and sometimes expensive) clipboard.

Check out the areas we find are most commonly overlooked by the owners of food businesses. They can be easy to forget but can potentially impact on your ability to trade.

  1. Liquor License – If you want to sell or supply alcohol you must hold a current alcohol license. There are four types; on-license, off-license, club license and a special event license. This is applied for through your local Council.

  2. Health and Safety risk assessments – This is a plan that identifies hazards in all areas of your business and shows how you prevent and control those risks. There are templates available on Government websites. For example;

  3. Pest Control Systems – This is a system in place that prevents the infestation of pests. It is not enough to simply call the exterminator after you see a problem.

  4. Electrical Safety Checks – All electrical appliances must meet the safety standards of New Zealand and Australia. Annual test and tagging by a qualified electrician is considered best practice. Untested equipment can put staff and customers at risk and impact on insurances.

Compliance in your food business is not just a necessary evil that is mandatory, but it can also take up valuable time, effort and resources when you would much rather be working on more exciting and creative projects.

As frustrating as it can be, taking the time to set up a stringent compliance program will help you to more efficiently manage your business by preventing errors or failures before they occur.

Did you have any questions? Let me know! Pop me an email on

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