Create a custom food control plan

Manufacturers of high-risk foods can develop a My Food Plan or a custom Food Control Plan (FCP) and register it with MPI to meet the requirements of the Food Act. Other businesses can also choose this type of plan to personalise the way they manage food safety. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps to get your plan registered

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Step 1: Check

Make sure that a custom FCP is for you.

If you manufacture high-risk food which you sell to other businesses, you need to create a custom food control plan. This includes manufacturers of:

  • meals and prepared food
  • food for vulnerable populations – such as infants or the elderly
  • meat, poultry or fish products
  • dairy products
  • commercially sterilised food products
  • vegetable protein and other protein products
  • ready-to-eat salads
  • non-shelf-stable sauces, spreads, dips, soups, broths, gravies or dressings
  • processed egg products
  • wholesale baked goods (when more than just bread is made).

If you are a food service business (like a restaurant, café or bar) or a retailer (like a supermarket, deli or butcher) you can either use a template food control plan or develop your own custom plan.

Step 2: Create

Develop a custom food control plan to show how you manage food safety in your business.

Custom plan from scratch, or by using parts of a template.

What does the plan involve?

In your custom plan, you need to show how you manage food safety and that you have basic procedures in place for things like cleaning, staff training, and equipment maintenance. MPI templates can help you develop these sections.

Your plan must also identify the things specific to your business that could put food safety at risk. You will:

  • detail the ingredients and processes you use to make your food
  • identify the key things that could affect the safety of your food (we call these hazards)
  • show what you do to control the hazards throughout the manufacturing or production process.

Use our guidance document to help you

Download our guide to help develop your custom food control plan [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Use templates to help you

You can use MPI's templates to help you develop your custom food control plan.

Just select any parts of the template that are relevant to your business, and use these to create your own custom plan. Any parts of the template you use don't need to be independently evaluated later.

You only need to write additional sections for processes that are not covered by the template, or where you prefer to do things differently.

There are 2 versions of the template food control plan. You can use either as the basis for your custom plan.

Simply safe and suitable template (A shorter version of the template. It includes a tool to help you work out which parts apply to your business.)

Food control plan: Food service and food retail (based on an earlier version of the template with more detail).

More about template food control plans 

Identify food safety hazards specific to your business

To identify the food safety hazards that are specific to your business, draw a process flow diagram showing:

  • the ingredients you use
  • the step-by-step process you use to make your product – this could include transporting, storing, washing, cooking, and packaging.

Look up each ingredient on MPI's hazard database to see what food safety hazards MPI has identified for those ingredients. Hazards include things like germs and bacteria, chemicals, and material like glass, metal, and plastic that could contaminate food.

Find your ingredients on MPI's hazard database

You could also check information from other credible sources like official government web sites or well-recognised scientific organisations.

Examine every hazard

You need to work out what happens for each hazard at each step of the manufacturing or production process for that ingredient – for example, if any bacteria will grow or reduce at that step. Also think about whether new hazards could enter at any stage.

Work out how you will control each hazard

Once you have identified the hazards you need to work out how you are going to control them, so that the food you produce is safe. MPI has some hazard data sheets which give information on how to control common hazards.

Hazard data sheets

Record your control plan

Write up your control plan for each hazard. Write down the checks you need to do to make sure that the controls are working, who is going to do the checks, and when.

Step 3: Evaluate

Get your plan evaluated.

Once you have created your plan, you must have it independently evaluated. The evaluation will check that your plan contains everything you need, and that you are likely to produce safe and suitable food if you follow it.

You must include a report from your evaluator with your application for registration.

Find a custom food control plan evaluator

Step 4: Before you register, contact a verifier

Arrange for a verifier to check your business.

What is verification?

Verifiers are professionals who will visit your business to check you are selling safe and suitable food. They could be from your local council or an independent agency.

Find a verifier before you register

Before you register, you need to choose a verifier. Ask them for confirmation that they will verify your business and include this in your registration application.

Arrange a verifier

You can also find a verifier on our registers.

Next steps:

  • Contact the verifier to check if they can do your verification within your timeframe and ask how much they will charge.
  • It's a good idea to ask for quotes from more than one verifier.
  • When you have chosen who you want, ask them for a letter to confirm they will verify you.
  • Include the letter with your application to get registered.

When to get verified

Your first verification happens after you are registered.

If you are a new business, your verifier must visit within 3 months of registering. If you are an existing business, your verifier must visit within 6 months of registering. MPI will notify your nominated verification agency (verifier) when your food control plan is registered.

Apply to extend your verification timeframe

In some circumstances, new businesses can apply to extend the date when their verification is due.
You can apply if:

  • you haven't already started trading by the due date for verification
  • something major or unplanned happens that means you or your business aren't able to be verified.

You need to email or write to your registration authority (either your council or MPI), 2 weeks before verification is due.
The verification date may be extended by up to 6 weeks. The registration authority must either grant or decline your request at least 5 working days before verification is due.

How much will verification cost?

Councils and independent verifiers set their own fees. Prices range from $115 to $210 an hour plus travel fees. The time it takes to verify you will depend on the complexity of your business and how well you are managing food safety.
Verifiers are often able to share travel costs between businesses in the same area. Check this with the verifier.

Check this guide to find out more about verifications and likely costs

Help to find a verifier

If you are unable to find a verifier from the map or lists, or the price quotes seem unreasonable, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Step 5: Register

You must register your custom food control plan with MPI, and renew your registration each year.

To register with MPI, you will need:

  • a completed registration form
  • your custom food control plan - you must include a copy of your completed plan with your application form, including site plans for every address you operate from.
  • a report from an evaluator endorsing your custom food control plan (see Step 3)
  • a letter from a verifier (auditor) to say that they will verify you. Your verifier must be different from your evaluator.
  • a completed scope of operations form specific to your type of business
  • address details for all the places where you make or sell food (record these on the registration form or use our template spreadsheet for multi-site addresses)
  • a copy of the Companies Act registration certificates for any parts of your business that are limited liability companies.

You also have to pay for registering your business. The application fee is detailed on the registration form.

Complete the registration form

Download the MPI registration form [PDF, 3.4 MB]

Download the template spreadsheet for multi-site addresses [XLSX, 12 KB]

Complete the scope of operations form

You'll need to tell us exactly what your business does, by filling out a scope of operations form.
The form includes:

  • the Food Act sectors you operate in – for example, retail, food service, manufacturing
  • your products – the type of food you make or sell
  • processes – how you make your food, for example, is it reheated, fermented, or sterilised?
  • trading operations – how and where you sell your products.

On the form, choose the sections that apply to your business and tick boxes for all the things that you do.

Download the scope of operations form [PDF, 511 KB]

Send completed documentation

Once you have all the documents needed to register with MPI, you can send your application to:

  • approvals@mpi.govt.nz
  • or post to:
    Approvals Operations
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    PO Box 2526
    Wellington 6140
    New Zealand

 

Step 6: Verify

After you've registered, your verifier (auditor) will visit to check you are making safe food.

Timeframe for checks

If you are a new business, your verifier must visit within 3 months of registering. If you are an existing business, your verifier must visit within 6 months of registering. MPI will notify your nominated verification agency (verifier) when your food control plan is registered.

Frequency of visits

How often you are checked will depend on how successfully you are managing food safety. This could be as little as once every 18 months if you are managing food safety well. It could be as often as every 3 months if you are not doing well. You must pay for each visit, so the better your food safety systems, the less it will cost you.

What a verifier does

The verifier will check you are following your food control plan effectively and keeping all the records you need. They will give feedback on areas that need improvement.

Step 7: Ongoing use of the plan

Once you have a plan in place, you must:

  • follow your plan to make safe food and keep all necessary records
  • renew your registration with MPI every year.

If you make any changes to what you do, you may need to change your plan. For example, if you start using new processes or making types of food that are not covered by your plan, or your business changes ownership or shuts down, significant amendments need to be evaluated and registered.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about food control plans, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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