Advice for Food Businesses Looking to Reopen at Alert Level 3

The Government has announced what Alert Level 3 will mean for food businesses and Waimakariri District Council is keen to help get businesses back up and running.

New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) has sent an email to all food businesses outlining the steps to getting up and running at Alert Level 3.

If you have not received the email, please contact our Environmental Services Unit at ESU@wmk.govt.nz and they will pass on the information. If you have received the email and have questions or need to make changes to how your business operates you should also contact the Council via 0800 965 468 or office@wmk.govt.nz

For Those Looking to Reopen

The key messages for food businesses are:

  • Food delivery, drive-through, online shopping or options such as click-and-collect can start from 11:59 pm on Monday 27 April.
  • However, you cannot open your physical retail storefront to customers unless you are a supermarket, dairy or petrol station.

There are several questions that need to be answered before your business can reopen:

  • What changes or additions will you have to make to the way you do business within the level 3 guidelines?
  • Are there any implications for your Food Control Plan or National Programme?

If you are changing your business model you must notify the Council.

You will need to contact us if you are planning to provide services or products that you have not offered before - for example deliveries, takeaways or selling food to other businesses (wholesaling) - to make sure you are not operating outside of your current scope.

Any changes to scope will need to be notified to, and reviewed by the Council, which may place conditions for the temporary change during Covid-19 Level 3. You can do this by filling out this form and emailing it to the Council at records@wmk.govt.nz prior to re-opening.

If the change of scope falls into the Custom Food Control Plan (My Food Plan) category then you’ll be advised of the process for this.

Please contact the Council or Food Act Verifiers (Food and Health Standards) for help and guidance.

MPI Information packs

Food businesses wanting to change their scope should also refer to the following MPI information. Click to download the relevant information pack:

-          Selling takeaway food

-          Delivering/transporting food

-          Meal kits and breaking bulk food into smaller packaging for retail

-          Making chilled / frozen prepared food

Waimakariri District Council
0800 965 468 (0800WMKGOV)
Email: office@wmk.govt.nz

Ian Shaw - Food Act Verifier 
03 365 1667 or  027 224 6572
Email: i.shaw@foodandhealth.co.nz

Verification Can Now be Done Remotely

If your verification is due the Council might ask you to have this done and it would be conducted remotely.

Remote checks have been introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) - New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS).This enables verifiers to assess businesses that are due for a scheduled verification, without having to go onsite. In most cases the remote check will replace the onsite verification. The verifier will contact the food business and request certain records and test the technology with the operator before proceeding to the remote check process. Council verifiers have been trained and approved by NZFS for these remote checks and will be able to talk you through the process.

Check your premises and services are ready for re-opening, NZFS have a checklist that you can use.

You will need to remember that if your menu is online, your customers will have lost the ability to ask about allergens. If taking orders over the phone, ensure staff ask if anyone has allergies or make sure the information is available on your website or in some other form.

For more information about Food Safety at Alert Level 3 follow this link to the MPI website: MPI Food Safety at Alert Level 3

Additional Info

Advice direct from MPI: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-food-safety/covid-19-and-food-safety-in-alert-level-3/re-opening-or-making-changes-to-a-food-business-in-alert-level-3/

Take a look at our Food Safety & Food Premises Registration page for more information and useful resources.