Food Act case studies

Under the Food Act 2014, some food businesses will operate under stricter food safety requirements than others. The Act will also apply in different ways to education providers and community organisations depending on what they do. Case studies on this page are examples of how the Food Act might apply to you.


Shiggy and Jordan run a brewery in Auckland. Find out how they manage food safety under the Food Act.


Lorraine runs a cafe in Makara, Wellington. Watch how she uses a food control plan in her business.

Video - Makara Cafe talk about their food control plan

[An animated yellow sign board with "Lorraine's story" written on it drops in from the top of the screen with words 'Food safety at my cafe' appearing underneath it. An animated picture of a cafe surrounded by green grass, a tree, table with 2 chairs under an umbrella appears on the right. A seashore scene with hills in the background moves along the score to the front entrance of Makara Cafe where cafe owner, Lorraine is busy opening the door. Inside the cafe, she serves a customer behind the counter, later sits on a coach with her food diary on her lap and talks about how she uses the food control plan whilst scenes in the dining area and outside the cafe are shown. The video ends with an animated kakapo waving a flag with the words 'Food Act 2014' written on it.]

Lorraine: John and I bought the café in 2006 having had no experience in hospitality or café work before.

When we first got here the café was closed, it had been closed down. There was an outstanding building code of compliance on it. John had to go through with the council and they were really, really good.

The council, the plumbing inspections, the building inspectors and the health people came as well and they were really, really keen to get the café up and running again.

Suppliers won’t deliver down here so I have to keep the menu very simple, so we do hot chips, toasted sandwiches, fish and chips, BLATs, salads, you know, just very basic.

Health inspectors from the council came and recommended that I start doing the food plan, which was OK, they went through it all with me.

Initially it involved setting up a diary – a cleaning schedule, staff training and just some basic management components really.

Every day on a daily basis you’ve got to do your refrigeration chiller temperatures and once a week you have to check for rodents, which I do every day anyway because of where we’re living.

And just general cleanliness obviously, for hospitality and kitchen control. Obviously, staff issues, with staff health. You wouldn’t want anybody being sick on the site.

In terms of the diary, I just do that once a day each day. You’re basically reporting on things that have gone wrong.

A lot of it is common sense, a lot of it is part of your training and if you’re a chef you’d have done all of this sort of work anyway.  But it was just really good for me to show my staff, we employ young kids, you know, when they’re coming in they’ve got no idea about food control and so I found this really good actually.

[End of transcript]

Coffee cart

David runs a coffee cart at school on the Kapiti Coast. Watch how he registered his business under the Food Act.

Video - David from Zeal coffee cart

[An animated yellow sign board with 'David's Story' written on it drops in from the top of the screen with words 'Food safety at our coffee cart' appearing underneath it. An animated picture of a food cart on a hill appears on the right. A black ute with Zeal written on it in large white letters is shown reversing out of a car park. Three young women, two with pink hair, make coffee and serve a customer. The inside of the cart, is painted black and decorated with oversize playing cards and white chalk detailing the prices on the wall.

The outside of the Kapiti Coast District Council buildings are shown, there are three Maori carvings in front of large windows. A user view is shown of someone navigating the Food Act section of the MPI website. The business owner David addresses the camera while sitting on a beige sofa. He is then shown using his laptop in the parked ute. Staff spray and wipe surfaces in the cart, wash their hands, and test the fridge temperature with a thermometer in a milk bottle filled with water. David writes in a record keeping book. The video ends with an animated kakapo waving a flag with the words 'Food Act 2014' written on it.]

David: The business we're running here is part of Zeal social enterprises. So it's a coffee cart that is in a local college and it provides a training opportunity for young people but then also a further first employment opportunity.

When I was looking to set up the cart up, I had a sudden thought, "Hey, we might actually need to have a registration of some sort." So I approached our local council and asked them for information and where to go next and they directed me to your website.

I ticked the boxes of what we were involved in, with the national programme standards and we only fit in the category of national programme 1. So, that was easy.

We also had to contact an outside organisation to come and check on us within the first 6 months. I looked on your website and there was a list of different people who can do that certification, so then I just contacted the one that was in my area via email.

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be to set it up, so I was quite happy with that.

We fit into a kind of lower level, I guess, of food safety, so there's only a few steps that we have to do and make sure that we do. The main one is cleaning so mainly just keeping them aware of constantly cleaning all the surfaces and keeping everything hygienic. Our fridge temperatures is the other big key. So, I think it is pretty easy in our case, but it is also keeping aware of any new people coming in, how we're continuing to set that culture with the staff.

For a new business starting out and looking at food safety, really just go and have a look at the MPI website because it's got everything in there, you just need to have a hunt through and figure out where you fit in the scheme.

[End of transcript]

College cafe

multiple storey school building with road near entrance surrounded by trees and grass

A college decides to open a cafe on campus to provide food to staff and students. Even though it is part of a college, the cafe still needs to operate under the Food Act. They will need either a food control plan or a national programme, depending on the food they serve.

If they cook or prepare their own food, including making meals, sandwiches, salads, cakes or deserts, they will need a food control plan.

If they sell food like sandwiches, pies, and cakes that have been made by another business then they will operate under National Programme 3.

Corner dairy

yellow corner dairy building surrounded by grass, a tree and a road

Huia runs a dairy, selling a wide range of food, including pre-packaged lollies and biscuits, cakes and ice creams, pies, sandwiches and wraps. She doesn’t make any of the food herself.

Because some of the food Huia sells must be kept cold, the dairy must operate under National Programme 2. However, if Huia reheats the pies, or scoops ice cream from a tub, she will operate under National Programme 3 as this means she is handling food.

Early childhood education providers and kōhanga reo

school playground in front of part of a school building with white bench at front

Dianne owns and manages an early childhood education centre which charges a fee to parents. Part of the fee pays for lunches. She employs a cook to prepare lunches such as lasagne and shepherds pie. Even though the main activity at the centre is caring for children, the food is being provided as part of the paid service. This means Dianne needs to operate under National Programme 2. Dianne registers with her local council.

Ngaire is in charge of a kōhanga reo. There are no fees to attend. Parents prepare food at home and bring it to share with the children. Because there is no fee to be part of the kōhanga reo, there is no sale taking place. This activity is outside the scope of the Food Act and no registration is needed.

Read more examples of how the Food Act 2014 applies to early education services [PDF, 540 KB]

Event stands

food van selling burgers standing on grass near 2 picnic tables with benches

Sasha runs a food stall at sports and cultural events across the country. She makes burgers, hot dogs and chips and sells soft drinks, tea and coffee. Sasha needs a food control plan.

She can register her plan with the council where she keeps her stall when it isn't being used. Even though she operates in several different local council areas, she only has to register with the council where she is based.

She can use an FCP template provided by MPI.

Food truck

Mexican street food truck

Juan runs a food truck. He cooks Mexican street food, like burritos and tacos, which he sells at a weekly street market in Wellington. He sometimes travels to other markets around the country to sell his food. Under the Food Act, Juan needs a food control plan, just as he would if he sold the same food at a restaurant.

Juan needs to register his plan with his council in Wellington, where he lives and where his business is registered. As a mobile business, he is free to operate his food truck in other locations under this registration. He will also need to get checked (verified). He can choose to arrange this with:

  • the Wellington council
  • another council in one of the locations where he trades
  • with a third party verifier. 

Home baker

Kim runs a business baking and selling decorated cakes from home. Under the Food Act, she needs a food control plan. She used a template created by MPI, and registered her plan with her local council.

Kim uses her home kitchen to bake her cakes. That’s fine under the Food Act, as long as she registers with her council and follows her food control plan. Watch her story.

Other laws also apply to running a business from home, so speak to your local council before starting out.

Video - Kim from Whangarei

[An animated yellow sign board with 'Kim's Story' written on it drops in from the top of the screen with words ‘Registering as a home baker’ appearing underneath it. Animated pictures of cakes pop up underneath the writing. Kim scrapes down the sides of a large silver mixer with a spatula and then addresses the camera while sitting in her kitchen.

The camera pans over the outside of a brick house. We then see a cake decorated with large, white edible flowers, and a shot of Kim holding one pink and one purple rose made of icing.

There is a close-up of Kim looking at a documents in a ring-binder. The camera pans around the inside of Kim’s kitchen. Kim points to a page of the food control plan that she has filled in with pen. She wipes down her bench with a green cloth. The camera pans across a rural setting of green hills.

Kim mixes a pink cake mix with a spatula, and lifts 2 mixing bowls sealed with glad wrap. She reaches for a jar in the pantry, and then washes and dries her hands. We see a full bottle of milk in an empty fridge. She flicks through the pages of the food control plan before speaking to the camera again.

The video ends with an animated kakapo waving a flag with the words 'Food Act 2014' written on it.]

Kim:  So, my business is called cake tin love.

I started baking cakes for my kids when they were little. I guess that’s what started it all really.

I sell them from home in Oakley and I also do wedding shows around the North.

A lady from Kiwi cakes in Kamo mentioned to me that she has a food safety plan and it wasn’t scary at all, and that I should go and talk to the lady at the council.

I was going to build on a separate kitchen, but I didn’t need to so that was good.

I have a lady come and see me once a year to check that I’ve correctly filled out my food safety plan and if I’ve got any questions that’s when I ask her.

She just makes sure everything’s still ok, the weekly clean for instance, the pest control – she’ll ask if I’ve had any problems.

It just makes you aware of what you’re doing, and it makes you aware of the food safety you’ve got to meet, like keeping you’re things separate, making sure you’ve got your flour for your baking in one container, your flour for your home in one container.

I also have things like hand sanitiser, soap and handy towels to dry your hands on rather than tea towels that aren’t very hygienic.

I’ll check the temperature of my fridge every day, even if I don’t use it.

When it’s full, it’s different from when it’s empty.

It used to be that you had to have a commercial kitchen to do anything. You weren’t allowed to use your home kitchen at all so hopefully that means that more people will do the food safety plan so they’ll be safe.

They just want to make sure you’ve got a healthy kitchen and that you’re going to provide a good service to your customers and that there’s not going to be any contamination of any sort.

[End of transcript]

Market stalls

three blue marquees set up as market stalls standing on grass with tables in each selling cakes, cupcakes and homemade goods

Valery runs a market stall every Saturday. She sells handmade birthday cards, picture frames and other gifts. She also sells homemade cookies and fairy cakes. She needs a food control plan to cover the sale of her cookies and cakes.

Mark runs a market stall next to Valery’s every Saturday. He sells garden sculptures and water features. Once a month he sells cupcakes to raise money for his favourite charity. Mark is not required to operate under a food control plan or a national programme because he is selling food for fundraising purposes less than 20 times a year.

Emily makes jams and chutneys and sells them at her local market. Emily can operate under National Programme 2, because her jam and chutney are both safe to store at room temperature.

Her hummus recipe is also very popular with her family, and she decides to start packaging and selling it on her stall. To sell this, Emily needs a food control plan. This is because her hummus needs to be kept cold to keep it safe to eat.


motel building entrance with small pond, tree and benches across a path from the main entrance

Sarah runs a motel, making breakfast for her guests, but not lunch or dinner. Under the Food Act 2014, Sarah is not required to operate under a food control plan or a national programme, as she is only providing food to resident guests. However, she must make sure that the food is safe and suitable to eat.

Sarah sometimes rents out her kitchen to other companies who use it to prepare catered meals. The catering companies, not Sarah, would need to be registered with a food control plan.

However, if Sarah starts making food for people who are not her guests, she will need to register with a food control plan. This is because she would now be operating like a cafe or restaurant.

Retail butcher

customer buying meat in butcher shop

Terry runs a retail butchers shop in a rural town. He prepares meat joints and cuts for customers and makes his own Christmas hams. Terry needs a food control plan, and can use a template provided by MPI.

One year, Terry is approached by a supermarket chain to provide Christmas hams. The hams are popular and the supermarket asks Terry to supply them year-round. To mass-produce his hams he has to change the way he does things. Now Terry must amend his food control plan to include his new manufacturing processes. He will need to re-register this as a custom plan with MPI. He may also need to have his plan evaluated, to make sure he's managing all the new hazards correctly.

Rugby club

marquee and barbeque set up near picnic tables and benches on side of rugby field

Sefa runs a local rugby club. The club has an on-site bar and kitchen, which makes and serves meals like sandwiches, burgers and fries to members. The bar and kitchen are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week. Under the Food Act 2014, Sefa will need a food control plan.

On match days, club volunteers make sandwiches and cakes for after-match team teas. The volunteers do not need to operate with a food control plan or national programme because the rugby match, not the tea, is the purpose of being at the club. Volunteers still need to make sure that the food is safe and suitable to eat.


supermarket building entrance

Min-jun runs a superette, selling packets of biscuits and chips, cartons of milk, and cheese. He doesn't make or package any of this food himself. Min-jun needs to operate under National Programme 2, as he needs to keep some of the food he sells cold.

He also has a small bakery on site, where he makes and sells bread and bread rolls. Under the Food Act 2014, making bread can also be carried out under National Programme 2. Min-jun can register both activities under one registration.

However, if Min-jun decides to make pies in his bakery, he will need a food control plan (FCP).That's because there are more things that could go wrong making a pie that is safe to eat than making bread. He can use an FCP template provided by MPI.

Min-jun has 2 options for registering his business:

  • Register the superette and bakery separately: This means that only his bakery would need to operate under a food control plan. His superette could still operate under National Programme 2, which does not require a written plan, and must meet fewer requirements. But splitting the superette from the bakery will increase his costs because he will have to pay for 2 separate registrations.
  • Register all his activities under a food control plan: This means including lower-risk activities, like selling cartons of milk and packets of cheese, in his plan. Choosing this option will be cheaper because he'll pay only once for registration and verification. Again, he can use the FCP template provided by MPI.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the Food Act email

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