Overview – Food regulation

MPI is responsible for the legislation that ensures safe and suitable food is available in New Zealand and for export. If you’re new to the regulatory framework, start here.

Operating under the Food Act

Rules for food businesses are changing – we're moving from the Food Act 1981 to the Food Act 2014. From 1 March 2016, all new businesses must operate under the Food Act.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) will shift to the new Act between 2016 and 2019. Check the timetable to find out when your type of business has to transition.

MPI is focused on growing and protecting New Zealand. Within this, food safety is an important component, as MPI works with industry and consumers to:

  • improve the safety and suitability of food
  • prevent and reduce harm to economic activity, human health and the environment from pests and diseases.
  • sustain and enhance market access for exports.

To support this MPI:

  • regulates, develops and implements food standards
  • facilitates exporting by providing assurances to exporters and destination markets
  • responds to food-related emergencies and suspected breaches of legislation.

A diagram showing and overview of New Zealand’s food safety system  is linked below:

New Zealand's Food Safety System (475 KB PDF)

The regulatory framework

In the Policy & law section of the website, you can find out more about the legal framework and how it is applied to the food industry.

Legal requirements for food safety and suitability are described in 4 main acts: the Food Act, Animal Products Act (APA) 1999, the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997 and the Wine Act 2003.

Under these Acts, further legislation is enacted by the government and MPI including: Regulations, Standards, Specifications and Notices, Regulated Control Schemes (RCSs), and national programmes.

Industry meets the requirements under this legislation through programmes, such as Risk Management Programmes (RMPs), Food Safety Programmes (FSPs), Food Control Plans (FCPs) and Wine Standards Management Plans (WSMPs).

What you will find here

The Food regulation section of the site is split into various sub-sections. Use the menu on the left to find your way around. The section is divided so that you can find information about:

  • MPI's legal responsibilities for food safety – MPI approaches food regulation using a risk management framework which includes consultation within New Zealand and through international networks.
  • New Zealand food legislation – learn about the hierarchy of legislation and the regulations, standards and other legal instruments that come under the 4 main Acts for which MPI is responsible.
  • Australia-New Zealand co-operation – through Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and other co-operative agreements, New Zealand and Australia work together to improve trade and food safety.
  • Fees & charges – industry pays for many services offered by MPI – find out how fees and charges are set and regulated.

Further sub-sections provide more generic information relevant to Food regulation:

  • Documents – find a full list of documents relating to Food regulation including, Standards, Notices and policy.
  • What’s new – check here regularly for important updates relevant to the Policy & law section.

Related information

Information specific to Food regulation is contained in this section of the website. Make sure you also refer to requirements specific to your food sector and the general requirements that you may need to comply with.

General requirements & programmes

Food sectors


From time to time, MPI asks for feedback on food safety issues that affect the food industry and consumers. You can find lists of current consultations and closed consultations in the Consultation section of the website.


Keeping up to date

It’s important to keep up to date with any new or revised information about Food regulation. There are different ways to keep up to date – choose the methods that work best for you:

What’s new – Click on What’s new in the left-hand menu to read the most recent updates to Food regulation.

Get emails – Sign-up to receive the latest MPI food safety news by email. Click on the Get emails link in the right-hand panel or at the bottom of any page to sign-up for email notifications.

Subscribe to feeds – Sign up to receive news feeds. Click on the Subscribe to feeds link at the bottom of any page to add to your list of news feeds.