Steps to the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers

The Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers pulls together requirements for both the Food Act and the Animal Products Act – making it easier and cheaper to meet important food safety standards. Follow our steps to create your plan.

About the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers

This single plan for cheesemakers is intended to be a short, easy-to-use plan that covers all the food safety requirements for cheesemakers – from dairy farming and making cheese, through to selling cheese.

Depending on which parts you use, you can register the template as either a:

  • template food control plan
  • risk management programme
  • template food control plan and risk management programme.

Follow the steps

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Step 1: Get the parts of the template that apply to your business

Use the relevant sections from the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers.

We've put together the most common business types and template combinations. Use one that's relevant to you.

Dairy farmer who sells milk (including raw milk) to cheesemakers


Dairy farmer who supplies most milk to Fonterra and the rest to cheesemakers


Dairy farmer who makes cheese (including raw milk cheese)


Cheesemonger who buys, matures, and sells cheese (including raw milk cheese)


Cheesemaker who makes and sells cheese (including raw milk cheese)


Select your template from the full version

Alternatively, you can choose the relevant parts from the full version of the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers.

Step 2: Register your plan

You'll need to register with your local council or MPI.

Who to register with

If you milk animals or operate across multiple council boundaries, you will need to register with MPI. Otherwise you should register with your local council.

Registering with your council

Cheesemakers and cheesemongers operating within council boundaries
  • Contact your local council and ask for a registration form.
  • Complete any other requirements set by the council.
  • Return all documents to your local council.

Registering with MPI

Dairy farmers (including those making cheese)

If you are using the farm dairy part of the template, you'll need to register this as a risk management programme (RMP) under the Animal Products Act.

Cheesemakers and cheesemongers operating across council boundaries

If you operate from fixed places in more than one council area, you are called a 'multi-site' business.  Multi-site businesses can choose whether to register:

  • each place separately with each local council
  • them all together with MPI.

If you milk animals – stop here and go to the RMP registration page

Contact a verifier before you register with MPI

You need to contact a verifier before you register, and get them to confirm that they will verify your business. You can use a Food Act verifier with custom Food Control Plan recognition.

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 you have confirmed a verifier, you can complete your registration with MPI.

Help to find a verifier

If you are unable to find a verifier from the lists, or the price quoted seems unreasonable, email

Complete your registration

To register your business with MPI you will need:

  • a completed registration form
  • address details for all the places where you make or sell food, including site plans for every address you operate from
  • a copy of the Companies Act registration certificates for any parts of your business that are limited liability companies.

Download the MPI registration form [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Send your completed forms and application to:

  • or post to:
    Food Act registrations
    Ministry for Primary Industries
    PO Box 2526
    Wellington 6140
    New Zealand.
Step 3: Get checked

A verifier must check you're making safe food.

What is verification?

Verifiers are professionals who will visit your business to check you are selling safe and suitable food. 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.

When to get verified

Your first verification happens after you are registered.

If you are a new business, you must arrange for your verifier to visit within 6 weeks of becoming registered. If you are an existing business, your verifier must visit within a year of your registration.

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.

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.

How much will verification cost?

Councils and independent verifiers set their own fees.

Step 4: Ongoing use of your plan
Keeping your plan current.

Once you have a plan in place and have registered, you must:

Who to contact

If you have questions about the Food Safety Template for Cheesemakers, email

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