Food safety officers

Food safety officers (previously known as Food Act officers) are responsible for enforcing the Food Act. They investigate non-compliance and complaints regarding the safety and suitability of food. All food safety officers are employed by either MPI or a local council. Find out how to become a food safety officer, the skills you’ll need and what you need to do your job.


Current Food Act officers

You will be a "deemed" food safety officer (have temporary approval) and be entitled to exercise powers that are similar to those you exercised before the new Food Act came into force. Your deemed status will last until 31 August 2016 or the expiry date on your warrant, whichever comes later. Before your deemed period ends you will need to apply to become a food safety officer under the new Act.

Training for food safety officers

MPI has developed online training modules for Food Safety Officers (FSOs). The training modules will help FSOs understand their role under the new Food Act. Anyone who is applying to become a food safety officer must complete these modules. The modules are on Tiritiri (the MPI online training tool).

Apply to become a food safety officer

The Food Act requires officers doing certain duties or using various powers, for enforcement purposes, to be appointed under Section 276(1).

Food safety officers can carry out their role anywhere in New Zealand, as long as they are acting with the authority of their employers.

How to apply for appointment – Council staff

Council staff must complete an application to become an FSO. Your application must be endorsed by your employer.

To apply you need to complete 2 forms. The first form has several parts.

How to apply for appointment – MPI staff

For MPI staff, there is information on gaining statutory appointments detailed on Kotahi – the staff intranet. The information can be found by searching for 'statutory appointments'. 

What evidence must be provided?

All applicants will need to show they have the skills required to be a food safety officer. This must include:

  • a formal food-related qualification
  • a formal qualification relevant to hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
  • training in compliance fundamental skills
  • work experience in a regulatory compliance or relevant food industry role
  • knowledge of the Food Act 2014 and associated legislation
  • skills specific to food investigations under the Food Act 2014 and associated legislation.

Find out more about becoming qualified and being appointed

Enforcement roles

Territorial authorities will investigate non-compliance and complaints regarding the safety and suitability of food in relation to food control plans or food businesses subject to national programmes for businesses registered by that territorial authority.

MPI will investigate complaints and non-compliance of businesses that are registered with MPI.

Reporting enforcement data

MPI is developing an online system to allow territorial authorities to report on their enforcement activities. Until the system is ready, food safety officers should report enforcement actions to MPI using the spreadsheet below. Instructions on how to use the spreadsheet are contained on the first tab. The completed spreadsheet should be emailed to
enforcement.monitoring@mpi.govt.nz

Monthly enforcement report spreadsheet [XLSX, 33 KB]

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