COVID-19 and food safety in Alert Level 2


COVID-19 is a recent discovery (31 December 2019) and our understanding evolves daily.

New Zealand Food Safety advice on this web page may change as new information and research on COVID-19 is released.

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation. Check its website for the latest status updates and information.

COVID-19 – Ministry of Health

Unite against COVID-19 – NZ Government

Re-opening or making changes to a food business

For more detailed information about reopening and making changes to a food business in Alert Level 2, read through our advice.

Food business owners/managers 

All primary sector businesses and support services can operate in Alert Level 2, as long as they can operate safely.

Primary sector businesses in Alert Level 2

Good hygiene

It is more important than ever that food businesses apply strict food preparation and hygiene practices.

If you are an employer, we ask that you:

  • make sure staff are aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, and how they can self-isolate if the need arises
  • ensure that food handlers are trained appropriately in food hygiene practices appropriate to their premises
  • ensure effective supervision of food handlers to reinforce hygienic practices
  • ensure that appropriate facilities are provided for hand washing or sanitation (e.g. alcohol gels/wipes) to enable food handlers to practice good hygiene
  • ensure that food handlers and external contractors are aware that they must report any signs/symptoms of respiratory illness before or during work
  • be vigilant and ensure that food handlers and other staff are not ill and are fit to work
  • ensure that staff with symptoms stay home until medical advice is obtained and they are cleared to return to work
  • make sure you are aware of staff who have recently returned from overseas 
  • should not require or knowingly allow workers to come to a workplace when they are sick with COVID-19, or if they have been advised to self-isolate under public health guidelines for COVID-19.

Scheduled Food verification services

It’s very important that food verification services continue during the COVID-19 response to support businesses and make sure food safety is managed properly.

A Remote Check System for Food Act 2014 businesses was set up as an interim measure until on-site verifications can resume. This means that Food Act verifiers who have completed the necessary Remote Check training, can complete scheduled verifications with food businesses off-site, via a phone call or using online technology such as Skype. During COVID-19 Alert Level 2, on-site visits are expected in some cases, including on-site evaluation of new businesses seeking Custom Food Control Plan registration, and the initial verification for new businesses.

For more information, verifiers can visit the Food Verifiers Academy and food businesses owners/managers can contact their verifier or email

Food Verifiers Academy

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