The Food Act covers all businesses that trade in food, regulating these businesses according to the level of food safety risk they present. There are four participants in the system: consumers, food businesses, verifiers and the regulator. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the regulator, and is supported in this role by territorial authorities.

In March 2015, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) publically consulted on proposed regulations needed to implement the new Food Act 2014.

The Food Act provides a high level framework only. It has a delayed commencement to enable detailed requirements to be established in regulations and notices. Full commencement of the Food Act must be no later than 1 March 2016.

While the Food Act 2014 provides a legal framework for food safety, regulations will set out how the risk-based approach will work on a more practical level. Regulations were proposed in the following areas:

  • food control plans and national programmes
  • recognised agencies and persons
  • approved documents, material, facilities, persons or classes of persons
  • food standards – ensuring food is safe and suitable
  • imported food
  • requirements for registration and verification (auditing) of businesses
  • cost recovery
  • infringement offences
  • exemptions
  • transitional matters – how existing businesses will move from the Food Act 1981 to the Food Act 2014.

Cabinet has approved the final policy for regulations that are to be made under the Food Act 2014.

The regulations will be drafted and should be finalised late this year (2015), before coming into effect on 1 March 2016. Final regulations will be published in the New Zealand Gazette and MPI will advise when this happens on this website.

Further legal requirements will be issued by MPI in the form of Notices. These will provide further detail about what people or businesses need to do to meet requirements of the Act and address specific sector requirements. MPI will develop these notices in 2015 and do targeted consultation with affected stakeholders.

To support implementation, MPI will develop a package of materials that will include templates and advice for food businesses and for verifiers and evaluators. They will also continue to work closely with territorial authorities to promote consistency in the way the Act is implemented.

Further proposals may be developed as the new food safety system develops and matures.

MPI is also developing an online tool, which will help people identify and understand where they fit under the Act and what they will need to do.

The Food (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2015 were gazetted in May 2015. The fees published apply only to services provided by MPI, as territorial authorities will set their own fees.

Businesses will not be charged by both MPI and a territorial authority for the same service. A minor amendment is being made to clarify that MPI and territorial authorities will each be able to waive their own fees and charges.

For more information on the Food Act and how it applies to your club please contact National Office on 0800 4 CLUBS