Food Act 2014

NZGAP certification enables growers to achieve both market access and compliance with the Food Act via one integrated food safety system 

 

Overview

The purposes of the Food Act 2014 include achieving the safety and suitability of food for sale, maintaining confidence in New Zealand’s food safety regime and providing for risk-based measures that minimise and manage risks to public health. 

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. It applies to all food businesses – this includes growers of fresh produce. Under the Food Act 2014, anyone who sells or provides food needs to make sure it is safe and suitable to eat. Safe and suitable food is defined in the Act. In summary, it means that: 'safe food' won't make people sick 'suitable food' meets compositional, labelling and identification requirements and is in the right condition for its intended use. Growing, packing, transporting and wholesale of horticulture products are in the low-risk category of the Food Act called National Programme Level 1 (NP1).

MPI Recognition of GAP standards as a means to meet Food Act obligations

In October 2021, MPI renewed recognition of NZGAP, NZGAP GLOBALG.A.P. Equivalent and GLOBALG.A.P. as meeting requirements of the Act as a section 40 Template Food Control Plan. 

Recognition means that businesses certified to any of these standards can meet their obligations under the Food Act 2014 via their existing GAP system. Continued recognition of the GAP standards is another major milestone in the development and delivery of an integrated assurance system that is effective and efficient for growers, while delivering on the outcome of producing safe and suitable food under the Food Act 2014.

Information for New Growers/Operators

 Step 1: Register for NZGAP certification

Register for NZGAP Certification  including giving permission for NZGAP to register your business with MPI

If you do not wish NZGAP to register your business, you can also register under the Food Act with your Territorial Authority (or directly with MPI for multi-sites) and pay the applicable fees. All applicable growers/operators must be registered for Food Act in order to attain NZGAP certification. 

 

 Step 2: Develop and Implement your Food Safety System

In October 2021, MPI renewed recognition of NZGAP and NZGAP GLOBALG.A.P. Equivalent which included some extra requirements (see below). Growers/operators must add these requirements to their Food Safety system to prepare for audit. Once you have received and completed the self-assessment checklist (from NZGAP manual or downloaded from the website) you will have an idea of areas where you meet the standard or are required to incorporate or change current practices to meet the requirements of the NZGAP Programme/Food Act. The additional points below are an ongoing requirement and will be incorporated into NZGAP standards during the next review. To meet your obligations under the Food Act you must be able to provide evidence of implementation of these additional points.

 

 Step 3: Get Audited (Verified)

Once registered, your next NZGAP audit will double as a Food Act verification. Once you have registered and paid you NZGAP fee, your nominated Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) will be notified that an audit is required. The CAB then contact you directly to schedule your audit.

   

Step 4: Reporting of audit outcomes

Key audit outcomes are reported to NZGAP and MPI by your auditor (e.g. whether your operation is compliant or not). 

 

Information for Existing Growers/Operators

 Step 1: Maintain NZGAP certification

Renew certification annually including giving permission for NZGAP to continue to register your business with MPI. NZGAP will maintain your registration for Food Act which must be renewed every 2 years. Food Act registration is required for applicable operators to attain NZGAP certification, and can also be attained by registering with your local Territorial Authority. 

 

Step 2: Review and Implement your Food Safety System

In October 2021, MPI renewed recognition of NZGAP and NZGAP GLOBALG.A.P. Equivalent which included some extra requirements (see below). Growers/operators must review their Food Safety system as soon as possible. The additional points below are an ongoing requirement and will be incorporated into NZGAP standards during the next review. To meet your obligations under the Food Act you must be able to provide evidence of implementation of these additional points:

 

 Step 3: Maintain compliance via NZGAP audits

 

Horticulture businesses such as growers only require one verification under the Food Act, however any issues found in future NZGAP audits will also be recorded as non-compliances for the Food Act. If non-compliances or significant issues are identified during audit, these will be reported through to MPI by you auditor.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can NZGAP provide a pathway to comply with the Food Act?

Yes. Your NZGAP certification can provide a pathway to meet your obligations under the Food Act. If you grow, pack, transport or wholesale horticulture produce

  • AND give permission for NZGAP to register you with MPI (this is included on theNZGAP Registration Form

  • AND incorporate these few additional requirements into your food safety system

Please note: Minimal processing such as rinsing and trimming can be covered by the NZGAP certification but if you carry out processes such as slicing, dicing or juicing then NZGAP certification will not cover these aspects of your business for the Food Act. You will need to It apply Food Act verification via your Territorial Authority or directly with MPI.

Why register via NZGAP?

NZGAP certification enables growers to achieve both market access and regulatory compliance in one assurance system. By combining your Food Act registration with your NZGAP audit you will save on fees and avoid duplication of audits.

What does NZGAP certification cover?

NZGAP is aligned with National Programme Level 1 of the Food Act for horticulture includes growing, packing, transport, storage and wholesale of 

  • Minimally processed fruit and vegetables
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Nuts & Seeds Shelf Stable Food
  • Microgreens

What NZGAP certification does NOT cover?

If you have other operations like slicing, dicing or juicing, NZGAP certification will not meet all your Food Act requirements as some of your operation is NP2/NP3 or you require a Custom Food Control Plan.

You will need to contact your local council or alternative auditing bodies.

NZGAP does not certify sprouts

What if I already have NZGAP or GLOBALG.A.P. certification?

Great - you're covered once you give NZGAP permission to register your business. Your next audit will double as a Food Act verification.

What if I have uncertified crops?

If you sell any uncertified crops commercially, you will need to add these crops to your NZGAP certification or get a separate NP1 registration and verification with your territorial authority.

How long does it take to get NZGAP certified and meet Food Act obligations?

It can take up to 3 months to get NZGAP certified because of registration, developing and implementing systems as well as getting audited, therefore it is important to plan ahead.  It is also important that you start developing your Food Safety systems as soon as possible.

How much does it cost?

The following costs are additional to your NZGAP certification fees when you include the Food Act with your NZGAP certification and will be included with your annual NZGAP fees. Year 1 Registration = $110 (excl GST) Year 2 onwards renewal = $50 (excl GST)  

Is my business exempt from the Food Act?

If you are producing seeds (non-edible), grow a product that is not for human consumption or are a contractor, then you will not be required to maintain a Food Act registration.

What if I am GLOBALG.A.P. certified?

You may be registered via another industry body, but if not you can register for the Food Act via NZGAP by signing up to Mutual Recognition Certification.You may also register directly with MPI if you wish to use the GLOBALG.A.P. checklist/audit as your Food Act audit (you cannot register via Council in this case). If you do wish to register via the Council, this will be a separate National Programme Level verification (additional to GLOBALG.A.P. audit) via the Council.