The Food Act 2014 comes into force on 1st March 2016. It takes a new approach to managing food safety. Find out more about the Food Act and what it means for your Club.

Everyone working in the food industry has a responsibility to make sure that the food we buy is safe and suitable to eat. The Food Act 2014 takes a new approach to managing food safety.

New Act enhances food safety

The Food Act 2014 promotes food safety by focusing on the processes of food production, not the premises where food is made.

A central feature of the new Act is a sliding scale where businesses that are higher risk, from a food safety point of view, will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower-risk food businesses.

The new law recognises that each business is different – unlike the old Food Act 1981 and its one-size-fits-all approach to food safety. The new Act means that a corner dairy operator who reheats meat pies won't be treated in the same way as the meat pie manufacturer.

The Act brings in new food safety measures:

  • Food Control Plans (FCPs) for higher-risk activities
  • National Programmes for lower-risk activities.

Under the Food Act 2014, some food businesses and community groups are not required to operate under a food control plan or a national programme.

All sold food must be safe to eat

If you're selling food to raise funds, or for charity, it must be "safe and suitable". That means it must be safe to eat – no one should get sick from eating your food.

What else you have to do to comply with the Food Act 2014 depends on the circumstances. You don't have to register under the Act if you're selling food:

  • to raise funds for a charity, cultural or community group less than 20 times a year
  • provided by members of sports clubs, social clubs or marae – where food is not the purpose of the event

However, you will have to register under the Act if you're:

  • fundraising more than 20 times a year
  • catering events at clubs, or selling food at club bars or restaurants

Where Does Your Club Fit?

Follow the steps below to find out what rules your club need to follow under the Food Act 2014;

CLUBS, ORGANISATIONS, SOCIETIES

1. Do you provide catered meals or food?

(Including any kind of preparing or cooking – for example, making toasted sandwiches, or cooking fries).

Answer "no" if food is provided at events or gatherings held and attended by members and guests – where the sale or trade of food is not the purpose of the event or gathering. For example, a bowling club holds a games night and provides nibbles to its members during the event.

If you answer Yes your food activity or business is likely to require a Food Control Plan.

Food control plans

A Food Control Plan (FCP) sets out what steps a business making or selling higher-risk foods needs to take to make safe food. You use it to identify risks, and to show how they're being managed. It means customers will know your food is safe – and it can help you create a successful food business.

What does a Food Control Plan involve?

A Food Control Plan is a written document that sets out what steps a business needs to take to keep food safe. Clubs can use a Food Control Plan template, provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and available from your local Territorial Authority.

You'll need to register your plan each year and have a regular check (verification) with your local Territorial Authority to make sure your plan is being followed.

2. Do you provide catered meals or food?

(Including any kind of preparing or cooking – for example, making toasted sandwiches, or cooking fries).

Answer "no" if food is provided at events or gatherings held and attended by members and guests – where the sale or trade of food is not the purpose of the event or gathering. For example, a bowling club holds a games night and provides nibbles to its members during the event.

If you answer No do you sell pre-prepared hot food – for example reheated pies?

If you answer No your food type or activity is likely to be exempt from operating under a Food Control Plan or National Programme.

However, you still must ensure your food is safe and suitable to eat.

If you answer Yes your food activity or business is likely to be under National Programme 3.

National Programmes

Working with a National Programme is the way that lower-risk food businesses operate under the Food Act 2014. Find out how to set up and register your business under a National Programme.

National Programme requirements

All national programmes require:

  • record keeping to show that you're selling safe food
  • registration of business details with your local council
  • one or more visits from a verifier recognised by MPI.

Three levels of national programme

There are 3 levels of national programmes, which are based on the food safety risk of the activities a business does:

  • Level 1 – lower risk
  • Level 2 – medium risk
  • Level 3 – higher risk.

Transition timetable

The Food Act 2014 comes into force on 1st March 2016. It applies to all new food businesses from that date but existing food businesses will transition between 2016 and 2019 according to these timetables.

Food Act implementation timetables

By 28 February 2019, all food businesses will be operating under the new Act. Until the transition time for your food sector ends, you can continue to operate under existing laws.

You can move to the new law any time from 1st March 2016. However, from the start date of each transition period, MPI will be focused on providing additional guidance and support to food businesses in each group.

You must apply to register your food control plan or national programme business three months before the final date for registration.

Food Control Plans
1 March 2016 to 30 June 2017
Apply by 31 March 2017
Manufacturers of food for vulnerable populations*
Manufacturers of fresh ready-to-eat salads
Manufacturers of non-shelf stable sauces, spreads, dips, soups, broths, gravies or dressings
Food service sector - Club Licence.  For example club restaurants, cafes, caterers and hotels
National Programme 3
1 March 2016 to 30 June 2017 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
  Apply by 31 March 2018
  Processors of herbs or spices
  Retailers who handle food (but do not prepare or manufacture food)
  Manufacturers of food additives, processing aids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients intended to be added to food.
  Manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages.

For more information on the Food Act 2014 please call National Office on 0800 4 CLUBS.