Working as a verifier

Find out how to become a verifier, the training available, and the responsibilities of verifiers under the Food Act.

Becoming a verifier

If you want to become a verifier, you'll need to apply to become a recognised person or agency.

Food Verifiers Academy

MPI's Food Verifiers Academy is a central point – a hub – for verifiers to get and exchange:

  • resources
  • support
  • expertise
  • guidance on performance expectations.

The focus for verifiers under the Food Act

The Food Act uses a risk-based approach, which means that high-risk businesses have to meet higher standards than lower-risk businesses. Verifiers should focus on what is most important for achieving food safety at each type of business.

The Act focuses on outcomes rather than prescriptive measures. Guidelines for verifiers are aimed at supporting them to use their professional judgement.

The Act encourages businesses to take responsibility for food safety in their business. Verifiers should play a role in educating businesses about what this means.

Who can verify which risk-based measure?

Template Food Control Plans are mainly verified by councils (territorial authorities). Other risk-based measures (RBMs) can be verified by any appropriately-recognised agency or person. This includes local councils and third party verifiers.

Only local councils can verify template food control plans for businesses that operate exclusively in their council area. This is explained in section 137 of the Food Act.

Use this table to check

The table shows the risk-based measures that have contestable verification and those that can be done only by a territorial authority. When a measure is contestable it means any agency or person that has gained the appropriate recognition can do the verification.

Risk-based measure Verifier
Custom food control plan Contestable, subject to gaining appropriate recognition. The agency and/or verifier is required to have ISO 17020 accreditation.
Section 39 template food control plan (where a business is in a single territorial authority region and sells primarily directly to consumers) Only territorial authority verifiers. Recognised under section 137 of the Act.
Section 39 template food control plan (where a business is not in a single territorial authority region and/or does not sell primarily directly to consumers) Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.
Section 40 template (where a business uses an industry-generated template approved by MPI) Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.
National programme Contestable subject to gaining appropriate recognition.

Escalation to enforcement

You must inform the relevant registration authority of unacceptable outcomes or critical non-compliances. Where MPI is the registration authority, please report critical non-compliances straight away. A critical non-compliance is one that is likely to pose an immediate threat to people's health. To report a critical non-compliance, contact MPI Food Compliance at or call 0800 00 83 33. All other unacceptable outcomes can be reported via your regular monthly reporting of verification data.

The following non-compliances should also trigger an escalation from verification to enforcement. If you work for the registration authority, discuss with a warranted food safety officer or take action yourself (if you are a warranted food safety officer). Food safety officers will assess whether an offence has been committed and what action is needed.

  • Failure to be verified – for example, a business won't provide the necessary paperwork when you are doing a verification.
  • Recurring issues – the same non-compliance seen several times, or ongoing non-compliance across a range of issues leading to a loss in confidence in the operation. For example, a business repeatedly fails to prove that they are meeting critical control point requirements (such as poultry being cooked to 75 degrees Celsius) because their record-keeping is not up-to-date).

Follow-up on corrective actions

Check that the business has taken effective corrective action within an acceptable period of time. Evidence of completing a corrective action can usually be sent by email or post, but for serious non-compliances, you may need to check at the business premises.

Note: A follow-up visit to confirm corrective action is part of the original verification – it is not a new verification.

Record results in Titiro

Verification results must be recorded in Titiro, our system for capturing and reporting on verifications and enforcement outcomes.

You can either enter the results of a verification directly, using the online form, or you can choose to upload your verification results in bulk.

You must supply Titiro with the verification data of all verifications carried out under the Food Act 2014.

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