Food rules for manufacturers, warehouses, transporters, importers and retailers


Do you know your food rules?

New Zealand Food Safety (a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries/MPI) helps food businesses meet food rules and integrate food safety into their business cultures. The way you trade in food determines the appropriate legislation – whether you need to operate under the Food, Animal Products (APA) or Wine Acts.

There are now more than 32,200 businesses registered under the Food Act 2014. However there may be people trading in food who haven’t realised they need to register. Other businesses may be registered under the APA or Wine Act, but the Food Act could be a better option. Find out today if you need food registration. It’s easy.

Go to
to find out:

• the plan or programme you need to use

• where to register your business, and

• who can verify your business.

You may need Food Act registration if you:

• grow or manufacture food

• process grain, herbs, spices, nuts or seeds

• brew, distil or manufacture vinegar, alcoholic beverages or malt extract

• transport or distribute food products

• import food for sale, or

• prepare, serve and/or sell food.

For the food transport and storage sectors, the need for registration was introduced by the Food Act in March 2016. This means postal, courier and logistical companies, which primarily transport and distribute food, need registration.

Even if you were registered under the old Food Act (i.e. before 2016), you may need a new type of registration.

Also, if you want to import food for sale, you must register as a food importer with New Zealand Food Safety or use an agent who is registered.

If you need to register your business, and you haven’t, your business is effectively non-compliant. This means New Zealand Food Safety and local councils may take enforcement action. Customers may refuse to accept your goods or use your services. It’s also important to check that businesses in your supply chain are registered to trade food – at Even if you don’t need registration to trade food, you still need to ensure the food you make is safe (won’t make people sick) and suitable (meets composition and labelling requirements and is in the condition the customer expects it to be).

New Zealand Food Safety works with food businesses, local councils and verifiers to develop templates and tools.

‘My Food Plan’ is designed for businesses that need a Custom Food Control Plan (FCP). It has pre-evaluated content, which can save you substantial time and money.

My Food Plan is a good option for food businesses that:

• make high-risk foods (like chilled, ready-to-eat foods)

• need a plan that covers multiple Food Act registrations

• are expanding from making and selling food directly to consumers to manufacturing and supplying to other businesses, or want to move from a National Programme (NP) to a FCP.

To find out if you are eligible for a My Food Plan, complete the My Food Rules questionnaire.

If your business is located in a remote part of New Zealand and you have a NP, you may be eligible for ‘Remote Verification’:

Instead of travelling to your business location, your verifier can connect with you via Skype on your device (smart phone, tablet, or laptop) – saving you the cost of the verifier’s travel.

For more about Remote Verification – visit