Fundraising and community event food safety rules

There are food safety requirements for fundraising, community events, and occasional events. This includes fairs, markets, stalls, and club events. Find out whether you need to register under the Food Act 2014, and how to do it.

When you need to register under the Food Act 2014

You don't need to register under the Food Act if you're selling food:

  • to fundraise less than 20 times a year
  • once in a calendar year at an event like a local fair
  • provided by members of sports clubs or social clubs – where food is not the purpose of the event.

You have to register under the Food Act if you're

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

If you do any of these, you'll probably need to:

  • register as a food business, and
  • operate under one of the Food Act's plans or programmes.

Councils might have extra rules

Local authorities (like councils) may also have requirements you need to follow. This might include where you can sell your food. Contact your local city or district council to discuss:

  • what food you want to sell
  • where you want to sell it
  • how you're going to make sure that it's safe to eat.

Council staff will be able to tell you:

  • the requirements that apply
  • whether you can do your activity.

The My Food Rules tool

My Food Rules is a tool that can help you find out whether you need to register and what you may need to do.

All sold food must be safe to eat

Even if you do not need to register, you still need to make sure your sold food is "safe and suitable". That means it must be safe to eat. No one should get sick from eating your food.

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

Food safety tips for event organisers [PDF, 1.1 MB]

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

Find out about the 3 Cs – Clean, cook, chill

Fundraising more than 20 times per year

You can sell food to fundraise without registering under the Food Act – but only up to 20 times per year. You'll still need to make sure your food is:

  • safe (it won’t make people sick)
  • suitable (it meets rules around labelling and what it contains, and is what people expect it to be).

If you're selling food to fundraise more than 20 times per year, you'll need to register under the Food Act 2014. This means you might need to follow one of the Food Act's plans or programmes. Use the My Food Rules tool to help you find out what you need to do.

Selling food at fairs, markets, and occasional events

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 more than once in a calendar year at an event like this, and it's not for fundraising purposes, then you might need to register under the Food Act 2014.

If you sell food at markets or events more than once a year, there are some other steps you need to take, and you're likely to need to register as a food business. Use the My Food Rules tool to find out what you may need to do.

Clubs, organisations, and societies

Clubs, organisations, and societies serving food don't need 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 need a food control plan or a national programme. You'll still need to make sure your food is:

  • safe (it won’t make people sick)
  • suitable (it meets rules around labelling and what it contains, and is what people expect it to be.)

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. Our fact sheet has more information. And the My Food Rules tool can help you work out what you need to do.

Fact sheet for clubs, societies and community groups: What does the Food Act mean for me? [PDF, 548 KB]

My Food Rules

At the marae

If you're bringing kai (food) to share at the marae, you do not need to register under the Food Act 2014.

But if you're selling kai at a marae, then you need to register under the Food Act.

Find out about marae and the Food Act 2014

Marae food safety tips and advice – Te Kai Manawa Ora

Rules around donating food

The Food Act 2014 has a "good samaritan" clause that protects businesses if they donate food. If their donated food makes people sick, they're protected from civil and criminal liability as long as:

  • the food was safe and suitable when they donated it, and
  • the food came with any information the receiver needed to keep it safe and suitable.

The "good samaritan" clause only applies to people who donate food they normally sell. It does not apply to people who give food away (like homemade cakes).

The donated food still needs to have its original labelling on.

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

Giving away food as promotional material

You need to register under the Food Act if you're giving away food as promotional material and it's:

  • advertising the product, or
  • promoting a business.

If you're planning to give food away as promotional material, contact your local council about what you want to do. They'll advise on any requirements.

Council contact details – Local Government NZ

Homekill, hunted, and wild food (recreational catch)

It's illegal to sell homekill and recreationally caught (hunted or wild) food, like fish and game, that you caught yourself. 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.

Read more about homekill laws

Find out more

The Food Act 2014 – NZ Legislation

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: