Codes of practice (COPs)

Codes of practice (COPs) and templates help you meet the regulatory requirements for your food operation.


If you’re a food operator or handle food, COPs and templates help you meet New Zealand regulatory requirements for your operation. They’re often used as a key tool to develop risk management programmes (RMPs) or food control plans (FCPs).

A COP details ways to meet the regulatory requirements and a template contains forms to guide you through completing your plan. There are COPs and templates for some operations, but not all.

Understanding COPs

COPs reflect acceptable industry-agreed practice. They’re structured to show mandatory requirements, strongly recommended procedures or control methods, and provide other guidance material. They typically include information on:

  • industry-agreed good manufacturing and hygienic practices
  • how to apply Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles
  • other relevant industry information.

An approved COP is one that has gone through MPI’s approval system and is considered valid and appropriate to the scope of the code.

Understanding templates

The simplest approach to developing an RMP or FCP is to use a template, if it is available. A template that fully covers the scope of your operation allows you to complete programme documentation by:

  • filling in the required information in the appropriate boxes
  • confirming that the procedures described by the template will be followed
  • documenting any additional procedures to ensure good operating practice (GOP) is being met as well as the application of HACCP principles.

Find out more about GOP and HACCP:

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Good operating practice (GOP) 

Benefits of COPs and templates

The benefits of using a COP or a template include:

  • ensuring you meet current best practice and acceptable industry procedures
  • confirming you comply with relevant regulatory requirements
  • simplifying and reducing the costs associated with the evaluation and external verification or audit.

Find out more about evaluation, verification and auditing:

Risk management programmes

Food control plans

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act.

Preparing RMPs or FCPs without a COP or template

Where you choose not to apply a COP or template, or if none exists that fully covers your operation, it’s your responsibility as the operator to develop your own programme and demonstrate that it is appropriate and effective. Other information may also be available to help you, such as sector manuals or guidelines.

Depending on your role, other general industry requirements may also be relevant to you. If you’re a food operator or handler, learn about the requirements for your food sector:

General requirements and programmes

Food sectors

Keep up to date

It’s important to keep up to date with any new or revised Food Safety information, including requirements, consultations, strategies and other content changes. Sign up to receive the latest MPI news by email.

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