Regulations and standards under the Food Act 1981

Find information and links here to legislation which is mandated under the Food Act.

Regulations under the Food Act

There are 3 Regulations under the Food Act, which apply to food businesses in New Zealand.

Food Hygiene Regulations (FHR) 1974

The FHR are enforced by local councils (territorial authorities). They set food-handling requirements and describe registration and inspection of food businesses. Food businesses that come under the Food Act meet food standards by operating under the Food Hygiene Regulations or by implementing a Food Safety Programme (FSP). You can find out more about how the legislation works in the FSP section of the website and in the regulations themselves.

Food Safety Programmes (FSPs)

New Zealand Legislation: Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 (External website)

Food (Safety) Regulations 2002

These regulations include provisions relating to food containers, infected people working with food, the manufacture of low-acid canned food and provisions relating to particular foods including muttonbirds, wine labels, fluoridated water and hemp seed oil.

New Zealand Legislation: Food (Safety) Regulations 2002 (External website)

Food (Fees and Charges) Regulations 1997

These Regulations describe the charges which MPI and other authorities may make for services they undertake for food businesses. You can find out more about Fees & charges by clicking on the link in the left-hand menu.

New Zealand Legislation: Food (Fees and Charges) Regulations 1997 (External website)

Standards under the Food Act

The Food Act 1981 allows Standards to be issued in relation to the composition of food, including the:

  • maximum amounts of chemical contaminants or residues that may be present
  • maximum or minimum amounts of additives or other substances that must or may be present
  • microbiological status.

There are also Standards for imported food.

These Standards must be met by producers and processors in New Zealand. They do this by implementing measures and controls for food safety in their businesses. This is usually done through a Food Safety Programme (FSP) or by operating under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974

Below is a list of Standards that have been developed under the Food Act. You can find links to the Standards by clicking on Documents in the left-hand menu.

Standards for chemical contaminants and residues

The following Standard defines the maximum residue limits (MRLs) allowable in food products.

  • New Zealand (Maximum Residue Limits of Agricultural Compounds) Food Standards 2011

Standards for additives or other substances

There are several Standards, which control additives or other substances in food products.

  • New Zealand Food (Supplemented Food) Standard 2010
  • New Zealand (Permitted Fortification of Bread with Folic Acid) Food Standard 2012
  • New Zealand (Bee Product Warning Statements – Dietary Supplements) Food Standards 2002
  • Food (Tutin in Honey) Standard 2010 and its amendments.

Standards for processing and manufacturing

  • Food (Uncooked Comminuted Fermented Meat) Standard 2008.

Standards for imported food

The Standards for imported food ensure that the food meets New Zealand food safety requirements.

  • Food (Prescribed Foods) Standard 2007 and its amendments
  • Food (Importer general-requirements) Standard
  • Food (Importer listing) Standards
  • Food (Imported Milk and Milk Products) Standards 2009.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) also describes requirements that New Zealand food businesses need to meet. You can find out more about this by clicking on Australia-New Zealand co-operation in the left-hand menu. The New Zealand (Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code) Food Standards 2002 gives effect to the agreement between the governments for a joint food standards system.

New Zealand (Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code) Food Standards 2002

How food standards are set

Under section 11C of the Food Act 1981, the Minister of Food Safety has the power to issue food standards that set minimum requirements for the quality and safety of food for sale.

Before the Minister can issue a food standard, they must take into account:

  • the need to protect public health
  • the desirability of avoiding unnecessary restrictions on trade
  • the desirability of maintaining consistency with international food standards and agreements – particularly the Code.

The Minister must also be satisfied that industry and other stakeholders have been consulted by:

  • giving appropriate notice of the intention to issue a food standard
  • offering a reasonable opportunity for interested people to make submissions
  • considering those submissions.

You can find out more about how standards are set under the Code, by clicking on Australia-New Zealand co-operation in the left-hand menu, then Developing standards.