Registering a Food Business

Registration of a Food Premises

Under the Food Act 2014 you need a food registration certificate to sell food. This includes selling your food online, through your cafe, restaurant, shop, at a market or from a food truck. Some food businesses operate under stricter food safety requirements than others depending on the risk involved.

There are three types of registrations:

  • Template food control plan: A food control plan sets out the steps you need to take to prepare food safely. MPI has developed forms and templates for food businesses to use. Download the sections of the food control plan that apply to your business, tailor the plan to your processes and train your staff. When you are ready to register, you need to provide a copy of your site plan, the appropriate registration (single-site or multi site) and scope of operations form and submit to Council's Environmental Health Officers for approval.
  • Custom food control plans: Custom food control plans are for higher-risk businesses. If you need to be on a custom food control plan, please register directly with MPI here.
  • National programmes: National programmes do not have a template, but you must keep records to demonstrate that the food you make is safe. National programmes are not verified by the Council, so you will need to employ a third-party verifier. When you apply to register with the Council, you will need to provide a site plan (physical design and layout), a scope of operations and an appropriate registration form (single-site or multi site), and engage a verification agency and identify them in your application.

To find out what type of food registration you require and what registration authority you need to register with, please use the MPI survey. This tool will also allow you to print out a copy of your template food plan or programme guidance and the scope of operations form.

Some smaller businesses that handle food don't need to register. These include:

  • If you are fundraising and sell food fewer than 20 times a year (e.g. sausage sizzles and charity fundraisers).
  • Some early childhood education providers that provide food for children in their care.
  • Small accommodation providers or accommodation providers who only provide breakfast or snacks.
  • Clubs, organisations and societies that sometimes sell food at member events.

When you have found the site where you want to open a food premises, you'll need to contact the Council to check:

  • With our planners that what you want to do is a permitted activity at that particular location.
  • With our Building Unit that any building or plumbing works have the correct building consents.
  • With the trade-waste team to check whether a grease trap is required for your intended activity.

An Environmental Health Officer can also provide advice before you start your business.

  • Confirm your food registration type before you complete the relevant scope of operations form - see My Food Rules to find out which type of registration fits your business (e.g. (Food Control Plan template or National Programme Level 12 or 3)
  • A completed scope of operations form
  • A copy of your site plan showing the physical boundaries and layout of your business.
  • A copy of the confirmation letter from your verification agency if we are not your verification agency, such as for national programmes.

We will return your application if it is not complete.

Once we have processed your application, you will receive an invoice to pay for your food registration. When you have paid this, you can start to operate and sell food. Please allow one week for us to process your application.

Within six weeks of opening, you will need to be checked by the Council and we will contact you to make this appointment. However, if you are registered under a national programme, you will need to contact your chosen verification agency and arrange an appointment time with them to be verified. During the verification, we will check that you are following good food safety practices and your understanding of the know, do and show sections of your plan. We will look at things like:

  • Staff training
  • Documentation and record keeping
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Cleaning and sanitising practices
  • Separation (food, allergens, chemicals)
  • Complaints and recalls
  • Protecting food from contamination by staff
  • Hand hygiene

The verifier needs to understand how you run your business throughout the year and what systems you have in place to address food safety risks. How often you get checked will depend on whether you are a high or low risk business. It will also depend on how well you manage food safety.

Fees are applicable for each verification visit. The fees include time spent preparing for your verification, travel time, report writing and reporting to MPI. More time may be required if there are several unique processes involved, multiple kitchens, or if you are unprepared. Please see the MPI guide for further information: How long does a verification visit take?

Template food control plan registrations are renewed every year and national programmes are renewed every two years. We will email you your renewal invoice, so please keep your email and contact details up to date. If you fail to renew your license in time, you may need to reapply for your registration. You also need to update your plan if you make changes to your business or if updates have been made to your template. If you sell or close your business, you will need to let us know.

Any changes or updates to your food registration, please email us at food.health@wmk.govt.nz

The full list of application forms is available under the related information section of this page.

For help with your application, please call the Council on 0800 956 468 (0800 WMK GOV) or contact the Environmental Service Unit on esu.admin@wmk.govt.nz.

Application Forms

For help with your application please call the Council on 0800 956 468 (0800 WMK GOV) or contact the Environmental Service Unit on esu.admin@wmk.govt.nz.

Application for Single Site Food Registration
Download PDF File (149.9 KB)
Application for Multi Site Food Registration
Download PDF File (187.2 KB)
Last reviewed date: 16 May 2024