Food hygiene

Food hygiene is regulated by the Food Act 2014 and the Food Regulations 2015 (the parts of the Health Act 1956 that deal with outbreaks of disease are also relevant). The Local Government Act 2002 allows City Councils to manage food hygiene and safety through bylaws so if you have specific questions you should direct them to your local council.

Generally speaking, community food provision (including marae) and fundraiser sales like sausage sizzles and bake sales don’t have to comply with the Food Act’s key requirements, (such as having a food hygiene plan.) They therefore don’t need to be registered or have regular check-ups under the Act.

Do I need a food hygiene plan?

Your organisation must ensure that any food you provide or sell is prepared in hygienic and sanitary conditions.

The Food Act 2014 has set out a list of food businesses that require a food hygiene plan. The kind of plan you need is determined by the relevant regulatory authority and is categorized as follows:

  • Those involved in ‘high risk’ food preparation, such as dairy and meat products, must have a food control plan (FCP) in place
  • Those involved in ‘lower risk’ food preparation, such as bread products, are subject to a national programme

If your community organisation does not primarily deal with the trade of food, you will not need any of the comprehensive food hygiene plans (i.e. FCPs or national programmes) set out in the Food Act 2014. If your organisation deals with catering, however, you may be required to have an FCP.

However, even if your organisation does not require an FCP or national programme, anyone who sells or provides food must make sure that the food is safe and suitable to eat. This means that the food must not cause illness, and is suitably and accurately labelled.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has set out a guide that helps you determine what kind of plan (if any) your organisation needs.

Fundraising and food

Your organisation is permitted to host up to 20 food sale fundraising events per year without needing an FCP or national programme.

If you host more than 20 fundraising events per year, your organisation’s primary mode of activity will be deemed to be food preparation. Depending on what kind of food product is being made and sold, you may be subject to an FCP or national programme.

Donor immunity

For charitable acts, the Food Act 2014 also covers donor immunity. A person who donates food in good faith is protected from civil and criminal liability, provided that the food was safe when it left them, and gave the organisation the information needed to keep the food safe.

Marae catering

As long as the kai is being prepared and served for charitable, benevolent or cultural purposes, your organisation falls outside the scope of the Food Act 2014. As mentioned above, your marae is permitted 20 fundraising events per year.

If, however, your organisation is a food business operating in or from a marae, you may be subject to an FCP or national programme.

Catered events

If your organisation is hosting an event that is catered by a commercial catering company, you fall within the scope of the Food Act 2014 and will therefore require a FCP. If this is the case, your organised event falls under a ‘food service sector’ under Schedule 1 of the Act. This includes commercial catering at a marae.

Forms and templates

Your community organisation may fall within the scope of the Food Act 2014. If this is the case, the MPI website has a templates and forms for FCPs and national programmes.