The Food Act 2014

Food safety rules have changed from 1 March 2016

The Food Act 2014

Everyone working in the food industry has a responsibility to make sure that the food we buy is safe and suitable to eat. The Food Act 2014 takes a new approach to managing food safety by focusing on the processes of food production, not the premises where food is made.

A central feature of the new Act is a sliding scale where businesses that are higher risk, from a food safety point of view, will operate under more stringent food safety requirements and checks than lower-risk food businesses.

The new law recognises that each business is different – unlike the old Food Act 1981 and its one-size-fits-all approach to food safety. The new Act means that a corner dairy operator who reheats meat pies won't be treated in the same way as the meat pie manufacturer.

The Act brings in new food safety measures:

  • food control plans (FCPs) for higher-risk activities
  • national programmes for lower-risk activities

To find out where your business fits, use the 'Where do I fit?' tool on the MPI website

Transition times for existing businesses

Existing businesses will shift to the new Act between 2016 and 2019.

You can choose to transition any time between 1 March 2016 and the end of your nominated transition period.

From the start of each transition period, MPI will focus on providing additional guidance and support to specific food businesses in that sector when their transition period begins.

Check the transition timetable to find out when your type of food business has to transition on the MPI website

Requirements for new businesses

New businesses commencing trading from the 1 March 2016 will be required to operate under the requirements of the Food Act 2014 and its regulations.


Setting fees under the Food Act 2014

Section 205(1) of the Food Act empowers territorial authorities to set fees to recover their costs in delivering registration, verification and compliance functions under the Food Act.

Council is permitted to recover costs associated with performing the following functions:

  • Registration: Registration includes providing advice to new businesses, recording food premises details and providing licences and certificates.  
  • Verification: Auditing of food premises, including preparation (booking appointments, checking resource and building consents, checking prior history), travel time, actual on-site time, completing reports and recording system entries.  
  • Compliance and monitoring activity: Investigation of complaints and issuing of improvement notices. 

When are the new fees effective?

Businesses will change over to the new rules at different times. During this period, some businesses will continue to operate under the Food Act 1981 and Food Hygiene Regulations. The new charges were effective from 30 May 2016.

The new fees will only apply to premises that register under the Food Act 2014. Existing premises that have not transitioned will continue to pay the existing Council fees set pursuant to the Health Act 1966 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.

The new fees and charges are available at our fees and charges page.