Fundraising and community event food safety rules

Sausage sizzles, and selling food like jams and cakes, are popular ways to raise money for good causes. Find out about the regulations you need to comply with if you're making and selling food for fundraising, want to sell food at occasional events like markets and fairs, or are serving food as part of a club or society.

Fundraising fact sheet

Download our fact sheet:

All sold food must be safe to eat

If you're selling food to raise funds, or for charity, it must be "safe and suitable". That means it must be safe to eat – no one should get sick from eating your food.

The other things you have to do to comply with the Food Act 2014 will depend on the circumstances. You don't have to register under the Act if you're selling food:

  • to raise funds for a charity, cultural, or community group less than 20 times a year
  • provided by members of sports clubs, social clubs, or marae – where food is not the purpose of the event
  • once in a calendar year at an event such as a local fair.

However, you will have to register under the Act if you're:

  • fundraising more than 20 times a year
  • catering events at clubs, or selling food at club bars or restaurants
  • bartering or exchanging food commercially
  • selling food commercially at fairs, markets, or community events more than once a year.

We have brochures available covering the basics of food safety:

Selling food for fundraising

If you want to sell food to raise money for charity you need to sell safe and suitable food.

Food safety tips for selling food at occasional events [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Food safety tips for event organisers [PDF, 526 KB]

Hot tips for a safe and successful sausage sizzle [PDF, 482 KB]

Fundraising more than 20 times a year

Under the Food Act 2014 you can sell food to raise funds for a charity, or for cultural and community events, without registering under the Act – but only up to 20 times in a calendar year.

If you're selling food as a fundraiser 20 or more times a year, you are defined as a business under the Act. You may need to adopt one of the food safety plans or programmes in the Act. Use the My food rules tool to help you find out what you need to do.

Local authority requirements

Local authorities may also have requirements that apply to your fundraising activity, especially about where food can be sold.

Contact your local city or district council to discuss what food you want to sell, where you want to sell it, and how you will make sure that it will be safe to eat. Councils' environmental health staff will be able to tell you the requirements that apply and whether you can go ahead with your fundraiser.

Selling food at fairs, markets, and occasional events

If food is sold more than once in a calendar year that is not for fundraising purposes, the activity is subject to registration under food safety legislation. You must sell safe and suitable food.

If you sell food at a single one-off event only once in a calendar year, your only requirement is to ensure you make safe and suitable food.

If you sell food at markets or events more than once a year, there are some other steps you need to take. You are likely to need to register as a food business. Use the My food rules tool to find out how the Food Act 2014 applies to you.

Clubs, organisations, and societies

Clubs, organisations, and societies that serve food won't need to operate under a food control plan or a national programme, as long as selling food is not the main purpose of the event.

For example, if a bowling club holds a games night and sells nibbles to its members as part of this, the club would not have to operate under a food control plan or a national programme.

However, if you supply catered meals to clubs or sell food – like at a club bar – you're likely to need to register under the Food Act 2014.

Clubs, societies, and community groups – What does the Food Act mean for me? factsheet [PDF, 548 KB]

Use the My food rules tool to find out how the Food Act 2014 applies to you.

My food rules

At the marae

Food prepared and served on marae for customary activities such as tangi is outside the scope of the Act. This will not be regulated because the food isn't sold or traded.

However, food prepared on a marae that is sold commercially must comply with the Food Act 2014. This could include running catering services, a cafe, or any other commercial food business.

Unsure what rules apply to you?

MPI has developed a tool called My food rules to help you work out where your food activity fits within the Food Act 2014 rules. By answering a series of questions you can find out what you'll need to do to comply with the Act.

Other related rules under the Act

Rules around donating food

A "good Samaritan" clause protects people who donate food that is safe at the time of donation, and meets any food composition, labelling, and other suitability requirements that may apply to the food. For example, this applies to food donated to a food bank.

These donors cannot be prosecuted under the Act if, for example, the food later makes people ill.

Donations of food from commercial sources

Provided the food was safe and suitable when it was donated, and came with any information needed to keep it safe and suitable, the donor is protected from civil or criminal liability under the Food Act.

Donations of food from commercial sources [PDF, 324 KB]

Giving away food as promotional material

Food that is given away as promotional material will be subject to regulation if it is advertising the product or promoting a business. If you are intending to give food away as promotional material, contact an environmental health officer at your local council. They will need details of what you are intending to do, and can tell you about any requirements for your activity.

Council contact details – Local Government NZ

Homekill and recreational catch

The Animal Products Act 1999 says that homekill and recreationally caught food, such as fish and game, must not be sold. Selling includes:

  • using for advertising purposes, as a prize or for fundraising
  • bartering
  • supplying as part of a contract
  • supplying as part of a charge for another product or service.

Although you can catch and eat your own wild food, you cannot sell it or trade it for profit. This is because it has not been through an inspection system to ensure it is fit for human consumption. You eat recreationally caught food at your own risk.

You may trade the parts of your recreational catch that are not for human or animal consumption. For example, you can trade hides, skins, horns, or antlers. Waste material can also be sold or disposed of to a renderer.

Find out more

Read the Food Act 2014 – NZ Legislation

Who to contact

If you have questions about information on this page, email

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