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 an FCP involve?

An FCP is a written document that sets out what steps a business needs to take to keep food safe. Many businesses can use an FCP template, provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Others will need to develop their own FCP.

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

Businesses that can use a template FCP

The types of businesses that can use a template FCP include:

  • food service businesses such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, catering, or hospital kitchens
  • food retailers that prepare or manufacture and sell food – including retail butchers, fishmongers, delis, and supermarkets.

Businesses that will use a custom FCP

The types of businesses that will use a custom FCP include manufacturers of:

  • food for vulnerable populations such as babies or the elderly
  • fresh ready-to-eat salads and other meals, non-shelf stable sauces, dips or dressings
  • meat, poultry, fish, dairy or processed egg products.

Get your plans ready in time

If you are starting a new business that needs a food control plan, you must be operating under the new Act and have your plan in place before you start making and selling food.

If your business was already running before 1 March 2016, the transition timetable sets out when you will need to start making changes to bring your food safety practices in line with the Food Act 2014.

Existing businesses with food safety programmes

Your food safety programme (FSP) will be deemed to be a food control plan from 1 March 2016 until 28 February 2019. You have until 30 November 2018 to apply to register your business under the new Act.

Changes to a registered food control plan

If you make a change to your food control plan or the way you operate your business after it is registered, you need to let your registration authority know.

Significant amendments

If this change is a 'significant amendment', you’ll need to re-register your plan. If it's a custom food control plan, you'll need to have the parts you change evaluated and re-submit it to MPI. Significant amendments include changes to:

  • the place you operate from – that is changing location, or adding a new location
  • the type of food you make or processes you use (if you have a template food control plan, this only includes things that are not covered by the template)
  • any other element of the plan that has an effect on safety and suitability (for example, major alterations to facilities or equipment, merging or reorganising the business, change of ownership where this impacts on the overall operation).

Other changes

If you make other changes, you must also inform your registration authority, but you won’t need to re-register your plan. This includes changes to:

  • the person who owns the business
  • your verification agency
  • your contact details (particularly your email address)
  • minor changes to your products, processes or plan (this relies on you assessing the change, and judging that there are no new hazards or critical control points)
  • you must also tell your authority if you are suspending or surrendering your registration.

If your registration authority or verifier believes your change may constitute a significant amendment, you may be asked to provide further evidence or register a new plan.

Tell your registration authority about all changes

If you are registered with your local council, contact them about any changes you make.

If you are registered with MPI, use the form – Changes to a food control plan.

Changes to a food control plan [PDF, 393 KB]

Unsure where you fit?

If you're not sure if your business will operate under a food control plan, MPI has developed a tool – Where Do I Fit? – to help you work it out.

Who to contact

If you have questions about food control plans, email

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