Steps to a template food control plan
Most food service businesses – like restaurants and cafes – and retailers – like supermarkets and butchers – can use a template food control plan to meet the requirements of the Food Act. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.
What is a template food control plan?
A food control plan (FCP) is a comprehensive plan for managing food safety. MPI has developed templates to make creating your plan easier.
You will need to:
- fill out your plan using the templates provided
- register it with your local council or MPI and renew it annually
- get checked by a verifier (auditor)
- follow your plan to make safe food.
Read the Getting started with your template food control plan guidance, and then follow the steps on this page to develop your plan.
The guidance document for a template FCP has also been translated into Chinese and Korean:
- 樣板食品控制計劃書入門指南 (Chinese – Traditional) [PDF, 2.8 MB]
- 样板食品控制计划书入门指南 (Chinese – Simplified) [PDF, 2.8 MB]
- 식품관리계획 견본으로 식품관리 계획서 (Food Control Plan) 시작하기 (Korean) [PDF, 2.6 MB]
Template and custom FCPs
Template FCPs are suitable for:
- food retail businesses that prepare or make and sell food – such as a butcher, a fishmonger, a retail baker, a delicatessen or supermarket
- food service businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways or on- or off-site caterers. The template may also be used by operators of residential care facilities.
Most businesses in these sectors can use the template. However, if you use processes that are not covered by these templates, or you want to do things differently, you can choose to develop your own plan, called a custom food control plan.
Get your plan ready in time
From 1 March 2016, all new businesses must register their plans under the Food Act 2014 before they open.
If you're an existing business, see the transition timetable for when you need to register a food control plan.
Follow the steps
A food control plan is a written plan to help you keep food safe. It helps you identify and manage food safety risks, and set procedures for things like cleaning, maintaining equipment, and ensuring food is cooked and stored correctly.
There are 2 main sections in the template food control plan – 'Basics' and 'Specialist'.
The Basics section has 3 documents – Basics Pack, Diary, and Retail Basics.
- Everyone needs to complete the Basics Pack and the Diary.
- Food retailers also need to complete Retail Basics.
For the specialist sections, download and complete the categories relevant to your business. All businesses will need to complete at least one specialist section category. Instructions to help you are in the template.
Once you have completed your plan, you must follow it to make safe food. You don't need to send your plan to us. A food safety verifier (auditor) such as your local council will visit to check your plan, and that you are using it correctly.
Complete the Basics Pack
This section of the template must be used by everyone. It contains 6 sub-sections:
Introduction: Information about how to turn the template into your own food control plan, and use it in your business. Read this section before you start.
Management: Use this section to fill in your business details, keep records, and provide information about your location, equipment, and staff training.
Places Basics: This covers the basic procedures that all businesses must have in place to keep food safe at their premises, such as cleaning and maintaining equipment.
People Basics: This covers what you will do when staff are unwell, and how you monitor staff sickness, hand cleaning, and personal hygiene.
Food Basics: This includes your procedures to keep food safe, such as cooking temperature, chilling and frozen food storage, and food labelling.
Records Basics: Use this sub-section to record the things you need to check on a daily or weekly basis. You will record things like the temperature your food is cooked to or stored at, and anything that changes or goes wrong.
Download the Basics Pack [PDF, 2.9 MB]
The Diary is a record-keeping template. Use it to keep the records outlined in Records Basics.
Download the Diary [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Complete Retail Basics, if you're a retailer
Food retailers must complete this section.
Download Retail Basics [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Complete relevant specialist sections
Specialist sections are designed to help you manage the particular risks associated with your type of business. For example, restaurants and cafes will have different risks to manage than butchers or bakers.
Use the following specialist section documents that apply to your business. All businesses will need procedures from at least one of these specialist categories.
- Serve safe (template for restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and rest homes) [PDF, 3 MB]
- Bakery safe [PDF, 1.5 MB]
- Fishmonger safe [PDF, 1.5 MB]
- Butchery safe [PDF, 1.9 MB]
- Delicatessen safe [PDF, 1.8 MB]
Registering with your council – most food businesses
You must register with your local council if your business is based in only one council area, or if you have a mobile or online business.
To register with your council you will need to:
- contact your local council and ask for a registration form
- complete any other requirements set by the council
- complete a scope of operations form – this sets out exactly what your business does
- return all documents to your local council.
Registering with MPI – multi-site businesses only
If you operate from fixed places (shops or packing houses) in more than one council area, you are called a 'multi-site' business. You can choose whether to register:
- each place separately with each local council
- register them all together with MPI.
Before you register with MPI, contact a verifier
If registering with MPI, you need to contact a verifier before your register, and get them to confirm that they will verify your business.
Verifiers are professionals who must visit your business to check you are making safe food. They could be an environmental health officer from your council, or an independent food safety auditor.
To get a verifier (auditor):
- check this list of auditors to see who is able to verify your business
- contact them before you start registering
- ask them for a letter to say they will verify you
- include the letter with your application.
How to register
To register your multi-business with MPI you will need:
- a letter from a verifier or auditor to say that they will verify you
- a completed 'scope of operations' form – this tells us exactly what your business does
- a completed registration form
- address details for all the places where you make or sell food. If you're registering with MPI then you must be operating a food business from more than one address. You will need to include each address on your registration form
- a copy of the Companies Act registration certificates for any parts of your business that are limited liability companies. [PDF, 597 KB]
You also have to pay for registering your business. The application fee is detailed on the registration form.
- Download the scope of operations form [PDF, 597 KB]
- Download the MPI registration form [PDF, 664 KB]
Send completed documentation
To register with MPI send your completed forms and application to:
- or post to:
Food Act registrations
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Once you have registered, a verifier – such as an environmental health officer from your council – will visit to check your plan, and ensure you are following it to make safe food.
What do you need to do?
If registering with your local council, they will also verify you.
If registering with MPI, the independent verifier you chose before you registered will do the verification.
Timeframe for checks
If you are a new business, your verifier must visit within a month of registering. If you are an existing business, your verifier must visit within a year of registering.
Frequency of visits
How often you are checked will depend on how successfully you are managing food safety. This could be as little as once every 18 months if you are managing food safety well. It will be more often if you are not doing well. You must pay for each visit, so the better your food safety systems, the less it will cost you.
What a verifier does
The verifier will check that your food control plan is working for your business, you are following it effectively, and keeping all the records you need. They will give feedback on areas that need improvement.
Once you have a plan in place and have registered, you must:
- follow your plan to make safe food, and complete the relevant sections of the diary every day
- update your plan if you make any changes to what you do – for example if you start using processes or types of food that are not covered by your plan. If you start using a new specialist template section you need to notify your council or MPI (depending who you are registered with). If you start doing something not covered by a template section, you will need to develop and register a custom food control plan
- renew your registration with your local council or MPI every year
- contact your council or MPI if your business changes ownership or shuts down.
Who to contact
If you have questions about food control plans, email firstname.lastname@example.org.