Apply for a Certificate of Registration

If you want to sell food, you’ll need to apply for a Certificate of Registration.

Food sellers are any person or business selling food for human consumption. This includes restaurants, takeaway premises, internet sales, food stall and food truck operators. All food businesses need to meet the requirements of the Food Act 2014 and the Food Regulations 2015, and this includes being registered. 

Depending on the type of business you have, you will need to operate under a Food Control Plan (FCP) or a National Programme (NP). 


Before you start, check that you have everything you need:

  • your Ministry of Primary Industries - Scope of Operations document (398KB PDF)
  • a confirmation letter from your National Programme verifier if you haven't chosen Wellington City Council
  • a copy of your company registration certificate if your business is a registered limited liability company
  • confirmation that the operator of the food businesses is resident in New Zealand within the meaning of section YD 1 or YD 2 (excluding section YD 2(2)) of the Income Tax Act 2007
  • your previous registration IDs if you were registered with either the Ministry for Primary Industries or your local council before 1 March 2016
  • application fee payment details
  • your email address
  • written permission from the premises owner or event organiser to trade if you are a mobile vendor or food stall owner.

Apply online

Printable application forms:

Next steps

  • Download the sections of the Food Control Plan that apply to your business. Tailor the plan to your process and train your staff.
  • An Environmental Health Officer will make contact with you to arrange an initial inspection and to approve your business to operate.
  • You will be issued with a health certificate that will allow you to trade.
  • After your first month of operations an auditor will make contact with you to arrange your first verification. This will assess your procedures and paperwork and make sure all safety procedures and plans are being followed.

Need help?

You can speak to an Environmental Health Officer at any point to discuss your application. They are available at the Service Centre, 101 Wakefield Street, Monday to Friday, between 8.00am and 5.00pm. 

Food Control Plan

A food control plan (FCP) sets out what steps a business making or selling foods needs to take to make safe food. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has developed forms and templates for food businesses to use. These forms help you to identify risks, and to show how you can manage those risks.

There are 2 types of FCPs.

  • Template food control plans (template FCPs) – you can build your plan from templates supplied by MPI.
  • Custom food control plans (custom FCPs) – you develop your own plan. These are registered directly with MPI.

For more information, visit Food Control Plans

National programme

National Programmes (NP) are a way for lower-risk food business to operate under the Food Act. NPs do not use templates; however, you must keep some records to demonstrate that the food you make is safe.

There are 3 levels of national programmes, which are based on the food safety risk of the activities a business does:

  • Level 1 – lower risk 
  • Level 2 – medium risk
  • Level 3 – higher risk.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Primary Industries National Programmes. To know about requirements for recording information, view their national programmes overview (95KB PDF)

Where do I fit?

Not sure of what type of food business you operate?  To work out where your food activity or business fits within the new Food Act rules, use the Ministry of Primary Industries tool, Where Do I Fit?

Renewing your registration

The Food Act 2014 came into effect on 1 March 2016.  By 28 February 2019, all food businesses will need to be operating under the new Act. When you need to transition depends on the type of business you have. Existing business will be sent a letter when it is time to renew registrations. You can choose to transition earlier, in which case you will need to fill out an application for registration under the Food Act 2014.

Check with the Ministry of Primary Industries for information on implementation dates.

Taking over an existing food premises

A food business registration including Food Control Plans, National Programmes and registration certificates under Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 cannot be transferred to new owners. If you are planning to take over a food business you will need to complete an application for registration under the Food Act 2014.

Home-based food businesses

Starting a food business from home can be a convenient way to launch a small business. However, it is important that you meet the requirements under the Food Regulations 2015 and operate an appropriate Food Control Plan or National Programme.

As a general guide it needs:

  • separation of food business activities from the household food preparation, which usually means having a separate kitchen
  • commercial grade surfaces and appliances
  • a way to be secured from children and pets.

We will only consider applications for home based food businesses if the type of the food being prepared and handled is low-risk. Depending on the type of food business and location of the domestic kitchen resource consent may also be required.

Trading in public places

Wellington has several weekly markets and lots of events during the year.  Find out what public spaces are available for trading and what permissions you may need: Trading in public places

If you are trading on private land you will need to provide a letter from the property owner giving permission for you to trade on the site. You will also need to check that the activity is permitted within the District Plan. To find out more, have a chat with a Council Planning Technician on 04 801 3590. 

More information

If you'd like to speak to an Environmental Health Officer about your business or food safety, contact the Public Health team.

 Phone  04 499 4444
 Postal address  PO Box 2199, Wellington
 Physical address  101 Wakefield Street, Wellington