Become a recognised verifier or evaluator of food businesses

To verify or evaluate businesses operating under the Food Act 2014, you first need to be recognised. Find out what you need to do to become a recognised agency or person.

Recognised persons verify food businesses

A verifier makes sure a food business is following good food safety practices. Verifiers help educate businesses on how to do this.

A verifier can:

  • work for a local council (a territorial authority)
  • work for an independent agency
  • be an independent person (sole trader).

Different types of recognised persons are recognised by different authorities.

Evaluators check custom food control plans

A food business operating under a custom food control plan (apart from My Food Plans) must have the plan evaluated. If you want to become an evaluator of custom food control plans you'll also need to apply to become a recognised person.

Why you need to be recognised

Checking that a business complies with the law is a regulatory role. Private agencies and councils can do this role on behalf of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). MPI's recognition process makes sure agencies or individuals meet the standards we would apply if we were doing the checks. If you are a "section 137 verifier" (read below) it is also important that you follow your local council's process.

Who recognises verifiers and evaluators?

Local councils employ verifiers of Simply Safe & Suitable template food control plans. Local council verifiers can audit businesses that have registered a Simply Safe & Suitable template plan with the local council, as long as those businesses also operate in a single territorial authority region and sell mainly directly to consumers. These verifiers are often called "section 137 verifiers".

MPI is the recognition authority for all other recognised persons and agencies. Businesses registered under the following can be verified by anyone with the appropriate recognition:

  • Simply Safe & Suitable template food control plans where a business is in multiple council regions or does not sell mainly direct to consumers (Section 39)
  • National Programme 1, National Programme 2, or National Programme 3
  • custom food control plans, including My Food Plans
  • industry-developed templates approved by MPI (Section 40).

If you are a sole trader, you will need to meet the requirements to become an independent recognised person. You need to meet an agency's quality management system (QMS) requirements as well as person competency requirements.

How to become recognised

Follow the steps for agencies or for persons (including sole traders and independents).

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How to become a recognised agency

If you wish to become a recognised agency you will need a quality management system (QMS) that:

  • meets the requirements of the Food Act 2014
  • has been accredited or assessed according to the assessment table.

Assessment table

The assessment required depends on what your agency wants to verify or evaluate.

Type of risk-based measure

What it includes

Assessment requirement

National programme – limited

Verification of national programme businesses in food service, food retail, or logistics (transport, distribution, and warehousing of food).

By MPI, or by accreditation agency as part of ISO 17020 accreditation assessment.

National programme – general

Verification of all types of national programme businesses other than those listed in 'limited'.

By MPI, or by accreditation agency as part of ISO 17020 accreditation assessment.

Custom food control plans

Evaluation and verification of custom food control plans.

ISO 17020 accreditation

Template food control plan

Verification of section 39 template food control plans registered by councils.

Council process applies for this – no MPI or accreditation assessment required.

Template food control plan

Verification of section 39 or section 40 template food control plans registered by MPI.

By MPI, or by accreditation agency as part of ISO 17020 accreditation assessment.

Notes:

  • ISO 17020 accreditation is an international accreditation standard, which can be obtained from an accreditation body (IANZ  or JAS-ANZ)
  • To arrange an MPI QMS assessment, email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

Develop your QMS

The aim of a QMS is to make sure verification is consistent and fair. Our information document shows how your QMS will be assessed. The checklist will show how you have met the requirements of the QMS. Send the checklist to MPI with your QMS only if you are going to verify national programmes or MPI-registered template food control plans.

Download the QMS assessment information and checklist [PDF, 180 KB]

Note: If you are gaining ISO accreditation, you should follow the process set by the accreditation body. You don't need to send your QMS to MPI for assessment.

Get your QMS assessed

Once you have developed your QMS, an assessor will:

  • do a desktop assessment
  • do an onsite visit
  • provide you with an assessment report.

Send this report to MPI when you apply for recognition.

Desktop assessment

The accreditation agency or MPI assessment agency will review your documents. They will let you know if any changes are needed. When this is completed, update your staff about any changes to your QMS.

Onsite visit

The accreditation agency or MPI assessment agency will conduct an onsite visit. They will check whether your agency:

  • manages the QMS effectively and has a continual improvement programme to ensure it remains relevant and effective
  • delivers credible and consistent services by providing staff with the necessary information, tools, and training
  • provides competent staff or contractors to carry out the functions required
  • supplies verification services within the required timeframes
  • manages any potential conflicts of interest
  • keeps all appropriate records
  • manages reporting requirements.

After the onsite visit, the accreditation agency will provide you with a QMS assessment report.

Making changes to your QMS

If you make any changes to your QMS, you need to let MPI or the accreditation body know. It might need to be re-assessed.

Apply to MPI for recognition

Once you have been assessed, you can apply to MPI to become recognised. Complete the application form for recognition of an agency, unless you are an independent person. If you are independent, you only need to submit the FA13P form, which includes the independent person QMS requirements.

Recognition of an agency under the Food Act 2014 – application form [PDF, 432 KB]

Send the completed application form to MPI approvals with your agency's:

  • QMS assessment report or ISO17020 accreditation report
  • application fee
  • limited liability company certificate (if appropriate).

Email the documents to approvals@mpi.govt.nz

Recognised agencies and recognised persons

To operate as a recognised agency, at least one person will also need to become recognised to undertake evaluation or verification under your system.

A sole trader is not employed, engaged, or managed by a recognised agency. If you are a sole trader, you do not need to be recognised as an agency but can be recognised as an "independent person". You will still need to meet agency and person assessment requirements.

All people that will verify or evaluate for your agency must be assessed individually unless you manage more than 5 people and your agency operates under the Key Technical Personnel (KTP) Model. This model could save time and resources for larger organisations.

KTP model information sheet [PDF, 156 KB]

How to become an MPI-recognised person

If you want to become a verifier or evaluator under the Food Act 2014, you'll need to apply to become a recognised person. Note, your agency must be formally recognised before you can gain recognition unless you are an "independent person".

To become a recognised person you will need to:

  • know the current food safety legislation
  • familiarise yourself with your agency's QMS
  • complete the verification and evaluation training modules
  • get assessed or accredited by IANZ or JAS-ANZ, as shown in the assessment table below. They will provide you with an assessment report that must be included with your application for recognition to MPI.

Complete online training

MPI has online training modules for verifiers and evaluators. The training modules will help verifiers and evaluators understand their role under the Food Act. All applicants must complete these modules.

Register for the verifier and evaluator Food Act 2014 training

Assessment required depends on what you want to verify or evaluate

The assessment for each starts with the accreditation agency interviewing you. They will watch you carry out a verification or onsite evaluation assessment. If you are not currently operating as a verifier or evaluator, you’ll need to arrange a mock audit. They may ask you to complete a desk-top evaluation of a food control plan.

The agency will check you:

  • are familiar with your agency’s QMS
  • know when and how to access a technical expert (if applicable)
  • have the technical competencies required.
Assessment table

Type of business you wish to evaluate or verify

Assessment required

National programme – limited (food service, food retail, logistics)

Interview and witness assessment by MPI or accreditation body.

National programme – general (all other national programme businesses)

Interview and witness assessment by MPI or accreditation body.

Section 39 or section 40 template food control plans registered by MPI

Interview and witness assessment by MPI or accreditation body.

Custom food control plans – evaluation

Interview and witness assessment by an accreditation body.

Custom food control plans – verification

Interview and witness assessment by an accreditation body.

Criteria for assessment

Our competency frameworks list the skills and knowledge recognised persons need. You must show you meet these to provide the type of service you are applying for.

Competency framework for evaluators [PDF, 404 KB]

Competency framework for verifiers [PDF, 408 KB]

Apply to MPI

Once you have been assessed by an accreditation body you can apply to MPI to become recognised. Complete the application form and submit it to MPI. It will usually be processed within 20 working days. You'll need to include:

  • the assessment report from IANZ or JAS-ANZ, or
  • Key Technical Personnel (KTP) recommendation report, and
  • confirmation you have completed the training modules
  • application fee.

Recognition of a person under the Food Act 2014 – application [PDF, 654 KB]

Email the documents to approvals@mpi.govt.nz

How to become a council-employed verifier

If you want to become a verifier who checks businesses registered under a Simply Safe & Suitable template food control plan where a business is in a single council region or sells primarily directly to consumers, you'll need to follow the process used by your council employer.

Each council (or territorial authority) may have slightly different processes for staff becoming section 137 verifiers.

You will need to:

  • know the current food safety legislation
  • complete the verification and evaluation training modules
  • complete any additional steps required by your council.

Additional steps required by your council may include shadowing another verifier or being peer-reviewed before you can verify businesses on your own.

Complete online training

MPI has online training modules for verifiers and evaluators. The training modules will help verifiers and evaluators understand their role under the Food Act. All applicants must complete these modules.

Register for verifier and evaluator Food Act 2014 training

Assessment

Your council will determine whether or not you are required to be assessed before verifying businesses. The assessment could include a peer review by another verifier.

Find recognised agencies and persons

Our register has companies, councils, sole traders, and individuals recognised under the Food Act 2014 to perform verification of all risk-based measures. It excludes verifiers of template food control plans (such as Simply Safe & Suitable), which are exclusive to councils, and evaluation of custom food control plans.

Food Act 2014 – recognised agencies and persons

The Food Safety Academy

The Food Safety Academy is a central learning hub for all verifiers. It has practical tools, resources, and support for verifiers and evaluators working under the Food Act 2014, and their managers.

Learn more and register for the Food Safety Academy

Food news

Food news is a regular newsletter for regulators and verifiers.

Sign up for Food news

Download the 21 December 2020 edition

If you have trouble signing up for Food news, email foodactinfo@mpi.govt.nz

Who to contact

If you have any questions about becoming a recognised person or agency, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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