Food safety for Schools and Kura (Food Act 2014)

The Food Act 2014 came into force 1 March 2016. It applies to schools and Kura that are selling food or providing it as part of their paid holiday programme. New schools opening in 2017 will need to register before selling any food. Existing schools have until 31 March 2018 to register if they need to

What schools need to do to comply with the law

Depending on the type of food that is prepared, served or sold and the level of food safety risk involved, schools may be required to operate under a Food Control Plan or one of the National Programmes (Level 1, 2, or 3).

If your school cooks or prepares food to sell, or if food prepared by students as part of a lesson, is later sold at the school cafe

  • You will need to use a written plan, called a food control plan. This helps you  to manage food safety on a day-to-day basis
  • You will need to register (with your local council) and get checked to make sure everything is in order

If your school only sells pre-packaged food ( pies)

  • You will follow what’s called a national programme
    This means registering and getting checked, but doesn’t require a written plan

If your School only sell pre-packaged shelf-stable food like chocolate bars or dried fruit and nuts

  • You don’t need to register or get checked.

If you use a catering service then it’s their responsibility to register

If you are unsure what you need to do, use the MPI online tool called where do I fit?. Click on the ‘education providers’ link to work out your school’s requirements.


As the law only applies to food for sale or provided together with a paid service (like a school run holiday programme). not  all food activities need to be registered.
For example:

  • shared or donated food
  • food parepared by students as part of a lesson 

MPI’s school leaflet Schools - What does the Food Act mean for me? has the full list of food activities that need to be registered or are exempt.

Even if you don’t need to register, food must be safe and suitable, and you can be held accountable if you make people sick.

  • Get food safety advice and resources on MPI’s website.
  • Go to  MPI’s website for more information about the Food Act 2014, including the steps to register.


New schools opening in 2017 will need to register before selling any food. 

Existing schools have until 31 March 2018 to register, if they need to.

Further information

  • If you have any questions or concerns get in touch with your local council or email MPI at

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