Working as a food safety officer

Find out how to become a food safety officer, the skills you’ll need, and what the job involves.

Food safety officers enforce the Food Act

Food safety officers investigate:

  • non-compliance with the Food Act 2014
  • complaints regarding the safety and suitability of food.

All food safety officers are employed by either the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) or a local council.

The Food Act sets out:

  • how officers are appointed
  • their various duties
  • powers for enforcement purposes.

Section 276(1) of the Food Act 2014 – NZ Legislation website

Online training for food safety officers

Our online training modules help food safety officers understand their role under the Food Act. All applicants must complete these modules.

Register for the Food Safety Officer Food Act 2014 Training Programme

Apply to become a food safety officer

Food safety officers can carry out their role anywhere in New Zealand. They must act under the authority of their employers.

Council staff must complete an application. Your application must be endorsed by your employer.

To apply you need to complete 2 forms:

Form 1 – SA2: Statutory appointment application form:

Form 2 – Statutory appointment application form Part I: FSO [PDF, 158 KB] 

What evidence must be provided?

All applicants will need to show they have the skills required to be a food safety officer. This must include:

  • a tertiary or postgraduate qualification related to food or scientific principles that can translate to the food sector
  • a formal qualification relevant to hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
  • training in compliance fundamental skills
  • work experience in a regulatory compliance or relevant food industry role
  • knowledge of the Food Act 2014 and associated legislation
  • skills specific to food investigations under the Food Act 2014 and associated legislation.

Find out more about becoming qualified and being appointed [PDF, 638 KB] 

How to apply for reappointment

  • Complete pages 1 and 2 on Form 1 – SA2: Statutory appointment application form above.
  • Get your manager to endorse your reappointment (page 5).
  • Include an updated photo (page 6).
  • Complete the 'Vetting Service Request and Consent Form' (pages 8–10).

Note, we do not need further evidence of qualifications.

Enforcement roles

Territorial authorities (district and city councils) will investigate:

  • non-compliance
  • complaints regarding the safety and suitability of food.

This may be in relation to any food business registered by the territorial authority.

MPI will investigate complaints and non-compliance of businesses that are registered with MPI.

Who to contact

If you have questions about food safety officers, email

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