Getting your food business verified
Verifiers check you are following good food safety practices. Find out about verification, remote verification, and how long it takes a verifier to do the checks.
Who must be verified?
All food businesses need to be independently checked (verified) to make sure they are selling safe food.
Your business will need to be verified whether you are:
- following a National Programme 1, 2, or 3, or a template or custom food control plan under the Food Act 2014
- operating a business under the Animal Products Act 1999 (with a risk management programme)
- operating a business under the Wine Act 2003 (with a wine standards management plan).
A verifier is either employed by your local council or an independent agency.
If you are operating under a national programme or a custom food control plan, you will need to contact a verifier before you register. You need a letter from them to include with your registration application.
How often verification is needed
How often you are verified depends on:
- the complexity of your food processes
- the types of food you sell
- how well you manage food safety.
Verifiers make sure you are following good safety practices. They will ask you questions about the records you keep. The focus will not be on your business premises looking a certain way, but on making sure you and your staff are doing the most important things to keep food safe.
Your first verification
After you have registered your food business, you will need to be verified soon after.
For all food businesses, the first verification happens after you are registered and operating your business. Depending on what plan or programme you are operating under, if you are a new business you must arrange for your verifier to visit within 6 weeks or the first 3 months of becoming registered. If you are an existing business your verifier must visit within 6 months or a year of your registration.
Food Act verifiers are not always available just around the corner. They might have to travel long distances to reach a business in need, adding time and cost to the visit. To help reduce travel costs, New Zealand Food Safety may be able to verify your food business remotely. Remote verification is available to qualifying businesses that operate under national programmes.
How to find a verifier
Independent verifiers and local councils set their own fees and they can vary. You should get some quotes before choosing a verifier.
A guide to times and costs
Our guide has information on how long a typical verification takes and how much it is likely to cost.