Whitebait food safety rules

If you collect or process whitebait, you might need to follow a food control plan. Find out whether you need one and what you need to do.

Law around catching whitebait

The Department of Conservation (DOC) sets the rules around catching whitebait. This includes when you can catch whitebait, and where.

Whitebaiting – Department of Conservation

Food safety requirements for whitebait

If you process whitebait for sale, you:

  • need to make sure it's safe to eat
  • may need to follow legal requirements.

What you need to do

The legal requirements depend on the level of processing that the whitebait catcher or processor is doing. You'll either be doing:

  • chilling, washing, and storing ("limited processing of whitebait"), or
  • more than chilling, washing, and storing ("limited processing").

Limited processing of whitebait

This is when you only chill, wash, and store whitebait, to keep the fish you caught safe to eat. If this is all you do before you sell your whitebait then you don’t need to register a food control plan (FCP) under the Food Act 2014.

If you do more than limited processing

If you do more than limited processing like preparing whitebait fritters to sell, then you must register a food control plan (FCP). You can use an FCP template – Simply Safe and Suitable.

Fish species that are classed as whitebait

Whitebait are fish that are the young or fry of the following species:

  • Galaxias maculatus (inanga)
  • Galaxias brevipinnis (koaro)
  • Galaxias argenteus (giant kokopu)
  • Galaxias postvectis (short jawed kokopu)
  • Galaxias fasciatus (banded kokopu)
  • Retropinna retropinna (smelt)

Find out more

Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000

Starting a food business

Running a food business

Who to contact

If you have questions about whitebait food safety rules, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: