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. 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 (for example hot 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 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 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 (external link) ? Follow 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.

MPI provides a list of food activities that need to be registered or are exempt. 


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. 

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.


Key dates


1 March 2016

All new schools and kura opened on or after this date must meet the Act's requirements and the associated regulations.

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


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