Fundraising & community events
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.
Download our fundraising fact sheet:
- What does the Food Act mean for me? [PDF, 617 KB]
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.
What else you have to do to comply with the Food Act 2014 depends 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:
- Download the English version – Be food safe [PDF, 167 KB]
- Download the te reo Māori version – Te whakamaru kai [PDF, 284 KB]
Selling food for fundraising
If you want to sell food to raise money for charity you need to sell safe and suitable food. For more information download:
- 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 that came into force on 1 March 2016, 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, and may need to adopt one of the food safety plans or programmes in the Act. Use the Where Do I Fit? tool to help you find out what you may need to do.
Local authority requirements
Local authorities may also have requirements that apply to your fundraising activity, especially about where food may 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, and you're likely to need to register as a food business. Use the Where Do I Fit? tool to find out how the Food Act 2014 applies to you.
Clubs, organisations and societies
Clubs, organisations and societies serving food won't need to operate with a food control plan or under 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.
Use the Where Do I Fit? tool to find out how the Food Act 2014 applies to you.
At the marae
Food prepared and served on marae for customary activities such as tangi is outside the scope of the Act, and will not be regulated, because the food isn't sold or traded.
However, food prepared on a marae that is sold commercially, like running catering services, a cafe, or any other commercial food business, must comply with the Food Act 2014.
Unsure what rules apply to you?
MPI has developed a tool—Where Do I Fit?—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 has been added to the Act to protect 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, 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 with details of what you are intending to do. They will be able to advise on any requirements for your activity.
Homekill and recreational catch
The Animal Products Act 1999 specifies 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
- 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 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, hides, skins, horns, or antlers. Waste material can also be sold or disposed of to a renderer.
Find out more
Who to contact
If you have questions about information on this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has this been useful? Give us your feedback