Register a business under the Food Act

To run a business under the Food Act, you need to register with your local council or MPI. The organisation you register with depends on where you operate, and what type of plan or programme you need. Find out how to register your food business.


Food control plan or national programme?

You'll need to know if you will use a food control plan or a national programme before you register your business. Use the Where do I fit? tool to find out.

Where to register your business

This table shows which organisation you need to register with. It depends on your plan or programme, the type of business you run, and the location of your business.

Type of plan or programmeWhere your business is basedWho to register with

National programme (any sector)

Based in one local council area, operating a mobile food business, or selling online. Local council

National programme (any sector)

Based in more than one local council area You can either register each site with the local council in each area, or register all sites under one registration with MPI.

Template food control plan - for a business primarily engaged in food service or food retail

Based in one local council area, operating a mobile food business, or selling online. Local council

Template food control plan - for a business primarily engaged in food service or food retail

Based in more than one local council area You can either register each site with the local council in each area, or register all sites under one registration with MPI.

Custom food control plan

Anywhere MPI

If registering with your local council, contact them for application forms and details of how to register.

Find contact details for your local council – Local Government New Zealand site

If registering with MPI, details of how to register, along with application forms, are on these pages:

When to register

All new food businesses need to register under the Food Act before they start selling food.

If your business existed before 1st March 2016 you have time to make changes. Check the transition timetable to see when your type of business needs to move to the new rules.

Getting checked or 'verified'

All food businesses need to get checked to make sure they are selling safe food. This is called 'verification'. You will be checked by someone from your local council or an independent verifier.

How often you get checked will depend on whether you are a high or low risk business. It will also depend on how well you manage food safety. Those who are doing well, will be checked less frequently.

They will check to make sure you are following good safety practices and keeping records. The focus will not be on your kitchen looking a certain way, but on making sure you are doing the most important things to keep food safe

How to find a verifier

If you are operating under a national programme or a custom food control plan, you will need to contact a verifier before you register, and get a letter from them to include with your application.

Independent verifiers and local councils set their own fees. You should get some quotes to find out how much it will cost.

Food verifier register

Check this guide to see how long a typical verification takes and how much it is likely to cost.

How long does verification take? [PDF, 286 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about registering a food business, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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