Food safety and protection

Population Health provides a range of services aimed at promoting food safety to the public and the food industry. Part of our role is to ensure food produced in New Zealand is safe, suitable and meets all requirements.

Along with the Ministry for Primary Industries and local councils, our Food Act officers are responsible for the safety and suitability of food sold in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions.  This includes investigating food complaints and suspected food poisonings.

Food complaints

Complaints investigated by our Food Act officers include:

  • Foreign matter
  • Labelling, including date marking, health and nutritional claims
  • Chemical residues
  • Microbial contamination or spoilage
  • Food complaints notifications

Visit link) to find out how to report a food complaint.

Contact us(external link) if you find foreign objects or undeclared allergens in food, or think food businesses aren't following hygienic practices.

Food Act officers

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is often caused by bacteria from food that has been incorrectly handled, stored or cooked. The food usually looks, tastes and smells normal. 

Some people are more at risk from food poisoning including young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with other illnesses.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headaches

Contact us(external link) if you suspect you are suffering from food poisoning. Remember to see your doctor in the first instance to be assessed and treated medically.

Check out these resources for more information:

Keeping food safe

Around 120,000 people get sick every year in New Zealand from food.  About 40 per cent of sicknesses are thought to be caused by unsafe food handling practices in the home.

Foodborne illnesses can be caused by bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter as well as fungi, parasites, viruses and toxins that contaminate food.

It’s easy to reduce the risk of food borne illness by following four simple rules: Clean, Cook, Cover, Chill(external link)

More resources

Food labelling

All food products sold in New Zealand are required to comply with the Food Act 1981.

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code sets the requirements for labelling and composition of food including claims.

Contact us(external link) if you would like clarification of the legal requirements for the labelling and composition of food, or would like to make a complaint regarding the labelling and composition of a food product.

Food labelling resources

Foods sold for further retail sale (Reg 5(7) Food Hygiene Regulations 1974

Food Hygiene Regulations 1974

No local authority shall, without the prior approval of a designated officer, register or renew the registration of any premises in which food is manufactured, prepared, packed, or stored, unless:
(a) food is manufactured, prepared, packed, or stored in those premises only for the purposes of retail sale on those premises; or
(b) the premises are an auction mart.

  • Regulation 5: replaced, on 21 October 1976, by regulation 3 of the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974, Amendment No 1 (SR 1976/268).
  • Regulation 5(5): amended, on 1 July 2002, by section 9(2)(external link) of the Food Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 26).
  • Regulation 5(7): amended, on 1 July 2002, by section 9(2)(external link) of the Food Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 26).

Allergens in food


Dietary supplements

Supplemented foods

Food markets

Food recalls

Food safety in emergency situations


Food safety training


Food safety management and food control plans


Low acid canning

Uncooked comminuted foods



Food Act 1981,
Animal Products Act 1999
ACVM Act 1997
Wine Act 2003

Food Hygiene Regulations 1974

Food Regulations 2002

Raw milk