Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS17 Food hygiene

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 17

      Food is prepared, served, and stored hygienically.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring hygienic practices occur in regard to food.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Basic food hygiene is important to avoid outbreaks of food-borne illness in home-based services.

      There should be enough fridge space to store chilled foods – including milk and yoghurt provided by parents for infants and children.

      Where children are involved in food preparation on a regular basis for consumption by others, food hygiene practices must be maintained and children supervised and provided with guidance around not eating the food and discarding dropped items. There should be utensils provided for children to use and appropriate surfaces should be used.

      If children are eating outside, the educator should encourage children to:

      • sit on a mat or at an outside table;
      • eat from a lunchbox or plate;
      • discard any dropped food; and
      • have a means of washing or wiping their hands.

      For more information on the preparation and storage of infant formula, refer to the guidance for HS20 - Bottle Feeding.

      Under the Food Act (2014), home-based educators who prepare and serve food for the children in their care must ensure the food they provide is safe and suitable.

      The Ministry of Primary Industries has developed some Food Safety guidance and fact sheets(external link) for services, as well as providing tips for food safety(external link).