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.

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'll 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'll 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 (for example hot pies)

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

If your school only sells 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

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

If you are unsure what you need to do

Use the Where do I fit? online tool on the NZ Food Safety website. Select the Education providers link to work out your school’s requirements.

Where do I fit? — NZ Food Safety website(external link)


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.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) provides a list of food activities that need to be registered or are exempt.

Factsheet: What does the Food Act mean for me? — Schools(external link)


You can sell food for fundraising up to 20 times a year without registering under the Food Act. This includes activities like sausage sizzles, school fairs or charity bake sales. 

MPI's fundraising fact sheet provides more examples of what counts towards 20 times per year.

Factsheet: What does the Food Act mean for me? — Fundraising(external link)

Food safety

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.

You'll find food safety advice and resources on the Ministry for Primary Industries' website.

Food Act — MPI website(external link)

The website also has more information about the Food Act 2014, including the steps to register.

MPI website(external link)


Key dates


31 March 2018

All existing schools that need to register must have applied for registration

30 June 2018

All existing schools and kura must be meeting the requirements

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


Watch MPI's Food Act videos on YouTube

Food Act 2014 videos(external link)

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