The Food Act applies to anyone who provides food to the public, including retailers, manufacturers and food service businesses.
The main feature of the Food Act 2014 is a sliding scale where businesses that are high risk in terms of food safety will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower risk food businesses.
All new food businesses and food businesses currently registered with Council need to be registered under one of the following options (as required by the Act). This assures everyone that there are processes to minimise food safety risks.
Depending on the type of business you have, you may either:
- need to operate under a food control plan (FCP)
- need to operate under a national programme (NP)
Use the Ministry of Primary Industries tool, Where Do I Fit? to work out where your food activity or business fits within the Food Act rules: answer a series of questions to find out what you need to do to comply with the Act.
What is a food control plan?
Higher risk businesses will operate under a written food control plan (FCP) whereby the operator will identify food safety risks and steps they will need to take to manage these risks. The plan includes pre-printed records to help you meet the requirements of the Act.
Most high risk businesses can use a template FCP but for some specific businesses, they must develop their own plan to suit which is referred to as a custom FCP.
Template food control plan
Businesses that will use a template FCP include:
- food service businesses like restaurants, cafes, takeaways, caterers
- food retailers that prepare or manufacture and sell food - eg, butchers, bakeries, delis or supermarkets.
You can view and print the template FCP under MPI forms and templates
Custom food control plans
Businesses that will need to develop a custom FCP include:
- pre-made food for vulnerable populations like babies or the elderly
- manufactured fresh ready-to-eat meals, perishable sauces, dips or dressings
- manufactured meat, poultry, fish, dairy or processed egg products.
All your staff need to have a good understanding of the food control requirements for their area of work.
The day-to-day manager must be familiar with, and understand, all food control procedures before training your staff. You'll need to complete and sign a staff training record for each person who works in your business.
What is a national programme?
Low-risk food businesses operate under one of three levels of national programme to meet their obligations under the Act. Below is a rough guide to the different levels of national programme, and which sorts of food business they cover.
NP 1 applies to businesses such as:
- transporters or distributors of food products
- horticultural food producers and horticultural packing operations (pack-houses)
- retailers of manufacturer-packaged ice cream and iced confectionery
NP 2 applies to businesses such as:
- bread bakeries
- manufacturers of jams, chips and confectionery
- manufacturers of sauces and spreads
NP 3 applies to businesses such as:
- brewers and distillers
- service stations
Registering with us
You can register your template FCP or NP with Council. You can complete the form online or print it.
If you're operating multiple food businesses within the Lower Hutt, you can register all your premises by completing a multi-site application. You can complete the form online or print it.
At present Council is not approved to complete verifications of National Programmes. You must still register with Council using this form, but you'll need to nominate a third party verifier to complete your verification. A list of verifiers can be found on the MPI website. A letter from your verifier must be included with your application for registration.
Food Act transition period
All food businesses must be operating under the new Act by 28 February 2019 with all operators needing to apply by 30 November 2018. The type of business you have which will affect when you need to apply to transition. Check with the Ministry of Primary Industries for information on implementation dates.
New businesses and taking over an existing business
New businesses, and people taking over existing businesses, must operate under the new Act from the day they start operating.
A FCP and NP are non-transferable when taking over an existing food business; the new operator would have to apply for either a FCP or NP. Visit the MPI website Where Do I Fit?
How can you find out more?
For more information on the changes, see Ministry for Primary Industries.
If you have any questions or concerns about your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 570 6666 and ask to speak to the Environmental Health Duty Officer.