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Is the new food control plan easier to use?

Update – 3 March 2017

Submissions released

A summary of the submissions received for this consultation is available.

 The consultation closed on 23 February 2017.

Consultation background

Most food service businesses (like restaurants and cafes), and retailers (like delis and butchers) use a template food control plan to meet their requirements under the Food Act. We proposed changes to the current template – intended to simplify it and make it easier to use.

Since the Food Act came into effect, we've been listening to feedback from businesses. The proposed changes were based on things businesses tell us would work better for them.

But we wanted to know if we got it right – would it work for you? Consultation closed on 23 February 2017.

Proposed template

The proposed template will be introduced alongside the existing template and businesses will be able to choose which version they use.

The new plan does not change requirements for businesses – what they need to do to manage food safety remains the same.

  • Each section identifies what businesses need to know, what they need to do, and what they need to show their verifier.
  • The proposed new template has been significantly reduced in size, and uses different design, layout and wording to the existing template. These changes are intended to improve the usability of the template.
  • Food safety guidance has been removed so that it now details only what businesses must do to comply with the law.
  • Record templates have also been removed. The plan details where records need to be kept but gives businesses more freedom to keep them in a way that works for them.

Note: More tools and guidance will be developed to work alongside this plan. These will be developed over time. In the meantime, guidance from the existing plan will still be available on the MPI website. Businesses can choose to access this separately when they need it.

Consultation document

Note, this document was updated on 9 February. Sections on sushi, Chinese duck, doner kebabs and sous-vide were mistakenly left out and have been added to this version.

The new plan [PDF, 794 KB]


You can tell us anything you think about the new template, but some questions we are interested in are:

  1. What do you think of the 'Know, Do, Show' concept? 
  2. Does the structure of the plan (starting, preparing, cooking, serving, and closing) include everything you do in a day? If not, what have we missed? 
  3. Does the order make sense? 
  4. Does the plan give you all the information you need to produce safe and suitable food? 
  5. After reading the plan, do you understand what you have to do? 
  6. How easy was the plan to understand? 
  7. Would it be practical to use in your business? 
  8. As well as paper records, we would like to create more record-keeping options. Other methods of recording may include using whiteboards, digital records and photographs. What methods would you prefer to use? How else can we help you keep records? 
  9. What do you like about this template? 
  10. What improvements could we make to the template?

Background information

The new Food Act, which came into effect in March 2016, introduced risk-based approach to managing food safety. Higher-risk food businesses need to use a food control plan. These are written plans that identify food safety risks and set out how they will be managed on a day-to-day basis.

Template food control plans are designed to make things easier. They mean you don't need to write a plan from scratch (although you can if you want to).

Who is the template for?

  • Food service businesses such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, caterers. This also includes organisations that make and serve food, like rest homes and schools. 
  • Food retailers that make or prepare food, like retail butchers, fishmongers, delis, bakeries and supermarkets.

When do businesses need to use the food control plan?

New businesses must comply with the Food Act 2014 before they open, but existing businesses are moving to the new rules in stages. Food service businesses with an alcohol licence need to apply to register by 31 March 2017. Other food service and retail businesses that make or prepare food have until 31 March 2018. Around 10,000 businesses are already using a food control plan.

Feedback is public information

Note, feedback you provide is public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available, unless we have a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your feedback. Reasons might include, it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.