Working as a verifier

Find out how to become a verifier, the training available, and the responsibilities of verifiers under the new Food Act.


Becoming a verifier

If you want to become a verifier, you'll need to apply to become a recognised person or agency.

Deemed verifiers should complete training

MPI has developed online training modules for verifiers. The training modules will help verifiers understand their role under the new Food Act.

If you are working as a deemed verifier, these training modules will help you understand the changes to your role under the new Act. You should complete the modules before you apply to become a recognised person (renew recognition) under the new Act.

This is an introduction to the new Act, and more in-depth training is being developed.

The focus for verifiers under the new law

The new Food Act moves from a one-size-fits-all approach, to one that is risk based. This means that high-risk businesses should have to meet higher standards than lower-risk business. It also means that verifiers should focus on what is most important for achieving food safety at each type of business.

The new Act focuses on outcomes rather than prescriptive measures. Guidelines for verifiers are aimed at supporting them to use their professional judgement.

The Act encourages businesses to take responsibility for food safety in their business, and we hope that verifiers will play a role in educating businesses about what this means.

Who can verify which risk-based measure?

Template food control plans are mainly verified by councils (territorial authorities).  Other risk-based measures (RBMs) can be verified by any appropriately recognised agency or person. This includes local councils and third party verifiers.

Only local councils can verify template food control plans for businesses that operate exclusively in their council area. This is explained in section 137 of the Food Act.

Use this table to check

The table shows the risk-based measures that have contestable verification and those that can be done only by a territorial authority. When a measure is contestable it means any agency or person that has gained the appropriate recognition can do the verification.

Risk-based measure Verifier
Custom food control plan Contestable, subject to gaining appropriate recognition. The agency and/or verifier is required to have ISO 17020 accreditation.
Section 39 template food control plan (where a business is in a single territorial authority region and sells primarily directly to consumers) Only territorial authority verifiers. Recognised under section 137 of the Act.
Section 39 template food control plan (where a business is not in a single territorial authority region and/or does not sell primarily directly to consumers) Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.
Section 40 template (where a business uses an industry-generated template approved by MPI) Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.
National programme Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.

Escalation to enforcement

You must inform the relevant registration authority of unacceptable outcomes or critical non-compliances. Where MPI is the registration authority, please report critical non-compliances straight away. A critical non-compliance is one that is likely to pose an immediate threat to people's health. To report a critical non-compliance, contact MPI Food Compliance at food.compliance@mpi.govt.nz or call 0800 00 83 33. All other unacceptable outcomes can be reported via your regular monthly reporting of verification data.

The following non-compliances should also trigger an escalation from verification to enforcement. If you work for the registration authority, discuss with a warranted food safety officer or take action yourself (if you are a warranted food safety officer). Food safety officers will assess whether an offence has been committed and what action is needed.

  • Failure to be verified – for example, a business won't provide the necessary paperwork when you are doing a verification.
  • Recurring issues – the same non-compliance seen several times, or ongoing non-compliance across a range of issues leading to a loss in confidence in the operation. For example, a business repeatedly fails to prove that they are meeting critical control point requirements (such as poultry being cooked to 75 degrees Celsius) because their record-keeping is not up-to-date).

Follow-up on corrective actions

Check that the business has taken effective corrective action within an acceptable period of time. Evidence of completing a corrective action can usually be sent by email or post, but for serious non-compliances you may need to check at the business premises.

Note: A follow-up visit to confirm corrective action is part of the original verification – it is not a new verification.

Send monthly reports to MPI

You must send monthly reports to MPI of all verifications carried out under the Food Act 2014. This includes businesses with a deemed food control plan (on the voluntary implementation programme or with a food safety programme). You can use the reporting spreadsheet for your reports and they must be done within 10 working days from the end of each calendar month.

Download the spreadsheet to use for monthly verification reports to MPI [XLSX, 28 KB]

Use the spreadsheet to report:   

  • verification for businesses registered under the Food Act 2014 (and entered into MAPs)
  • verification of deemed food control plan businesses
  • new business registrations (those not operating before 1 March 2016) – these must be reported by councils. Enter these in the second tab of the spreadsheet.  If you didn't register any new businesses, indicate this clearly.

Instructions for how to use the spreadsheet are in the first tab. Email the completed spreadsheet to Verification.Monitoring@mpi.govt.nz

MPI is developing an online verification system to capture this data. This will be available in a few months.

Guidance in development

MPI is also developing guidance that will explain how we will monitor council and third-party verification activities, and what you'll need to report to MPI.

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