Food & Food Safety

This page contains helpful information about Tararua District Council's requirements for opening a new food business.

Food Act 2014 - what does it mean for food businesses?

On Friday, 6 June 2014, the Food Act 2014 received ‘Royal Assent’ and was adopted as national legislation.

The Food Act 2014 replaced the previous 'one-size-fits-all' food safety legislation; this outdated legislation was making it difficult for businesses to operate in an increasingly innovative and competitive world. The new Act recognises that each business is different, and provides a structure where food safety issues can be dealt with in ways that best suit the business. The Food Act 2014 promotes food safety by focusing on the processes of food production, not the premises where food is made.

A central feature of the 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 Food Act 2014 came fully into force on 1 March 2016, and replaced the Food Act 1981. From this time, over a staggered three year period, food businesses will transition, in groups, into the new rules. At the end of the three year period, the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 will be revoked, click here to find out when your sector is scheduled to transition.

If you are a new business that started after 1 March 2016, you are required to register a Food Control Plan with the Tararua District Council . Once your registration has been approved, your details will appear on a National Register held by the Ministry for Primary Industries, and you will be given permission to operate. 

Central Government has developed the Food Regulations 2015, this document will give you an overview of what you will need to do in order to successfully operate a food business in New Zealand.

Guidelines for opening a food premises

Food Control Plans

Under the Food Act 2014, all new business are required to operate under a "risk based measure"  that is predetermined by the type of foods that are prepared and sold by your business. A template food control plan is required for the following food industries;

  • Restaurants, cafes and takeaways, that prepare and manufacture foods for sale
  • Caterers and cake decorators wanting to prepare foods in a domestic kitchen
  • Retailers of meat, including butchers
  • Business that manufacture food
  • School canteens & early childhood providers that provide meals

National Programmes

National Programmes have been designed for lower risk business selling or manufacturing foods that have been determined as low risk by the Ministry for Primary Industries. There are three main categories that food business fit into.

If you fit under one or more of these categories, you will be operating under this 'risk based measure,"

  • Retailers of foods that are reheated but not prepared onsite;
  • Extractors and packers of honey and honey products;
  • Retailers of hot beverages and shelf stable foods;
  • Retailers of pre packaged ice cream and iced confectionary; and
  • Brewers, distillers, fruit drink and flour manufactures.

Additional contacts and information

If you’re thinking of opening a food business or taking over an existing food business, you may need to consult with other Council departments in addition to Environmental Health, such as:


Contact Council’s Duty Planner to ensure that you can set up a food business in your chosen area. The zoning of some areas exclude commercial activity and you may need to apply for Resource Consent to operate in some areas. The Duty Planner can also tell you if there is any parking or other planning requirements in your area. You can contact the Duty Planner by email, or phone 06 374 4080.


If you are building new premises or altering an existing premise, you may require Building Consent. Council's Building Control Team will be able to advise you whether or not the work you intend to do requires a building consent. They will also be able to provide advice on public toilet requirements for your premises. Depending on the type and volume of food you are preparing, you may also require a grease trap. You can contact the Building Control Team by email, or phone 06 374 4080.

Liquor Licensing

If you intend to sell liquor on your premises, or have patrons bring liquor for consumption on the premises while dining, you will need to apply for the appropriate licence under the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act 2012. It is recommended that application for a liquor licence is made as early as possible as issuing licences takes time. You can contact the Licensing Inspector by email, or phone 06 374 4080.