How it works
You need a food registration certificate to sell food in Wellington City. This includes:
- restaurants, cafes and takeaway shops
- shops that sell food, like dairies, supermarkets and online stores
- food stalls and food trucks
- food manufacturers and growers, like brewers or honey producers
- transport businesses that handle food.
When you don't need to register
Some small-scale businesses that handle food don't need to register. These include:
- if you are fundraising and sell food fewer than 20 times a year (for example, sausage sizzles and charity fundraisers)
- some ECE providers who provide food for children in their care
- small accommodation providers, or accommodation providers who only provide breakfast or snacks
- clubs, organisations and societies who sometimes sell food at member events.
Exemptions from plans or programmes – MPI
Fundraisers and sausage sizzles
If you're taking over an existing food business
A food registration certificate is granted to the owner of a business, not the business itself. If you're buying or leasing a food business, you need to apply for a new food registration certificate before you can start trading.
How to apply
We can usually complete your pre-opening inspection within 2 weeks of receiving your completed application.
1. Choose your plan or programme
To get a food registration certificate, you need to have set up a food control plan or national programme. These have been created by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and are designed to make sure the food you sell is safe for consumers.
To work out which plan applies to you, use MPI's 'My food rules' tool, or contact the Council's Public Health team Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm on
04 499 4444.
My food rules – MPI
2. Set up your plan or programme
It's best to work out how you will put the plan or programme into practice before you apply for registration, so you're ready to go when a registration officer comes to see you.
Template food control plans
A food control plan sets out the steps you need to take to prepare food safely.
MPI has developed forms and templates for food businesses to use. Download the sections of the food control plan that apply to your business, tailor the plan to your processes and train your staff.
Template food control plans – MPI
Custom food control plans
Custom food control plans are for higher-risk businesses. If you need to be on a custom food control plan, you'll register directly with MPI instead of with us.
Custom food control plans – MPI
National programmes 1, 2 and 3
National programmes do not use templates, but you must keep some records to demonstrate that the food you make is safe.
For more information on national programmes, check out the MPI guidance material:
National Programmes – MPI
3. Prepare your supporting documents
Before you apply, check that you have everything you need. Your application will not be processed if any documents are missing or you haven't paid the right application fee.
- your NZ business number and a copy of your certificate of incorporation, if your business is a limited liability company
- a confirmation letter from your National Programme verifier if you haven't chosen Wellington City Council
- a multiple site details form if you have more than one site and you want to include all the sites under one registration.
4. Fees to pay
Pre-opening inspection fee (1 hour)
Grease trap fee (if applicable)
Passive or big dipper
Food control plan
Food control plan (for some mobile operators)
If your pre-opening inspection takes longer than an hour or your verification takes longer than two hours, you may be invoiced for the extra time at $155.00 per hour.
Food safety fees
5. Submit the application
You will need a credit card to make your payment. Your application won’t be received unless the payment is made.
Download the form
You can email your form to email@example.com
We will then send you the invoice for payment – your application won’t be processed until the fee has been paid.
You can submit your form and pay in person at our Service Centre between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You don't need an appointment.
Mail your form and a cheque to:
Wellington City Council
PO Box 2199
6. Have a pre-opening inspection
A registration officer will contact you to arrange a pre-opening inspection and to approve your business to operate. This will usually happen within 2 weeks of when you apply.
They will give you advice about anything you might still need to do.
Once we're satisfied that your business is ready, you will be issued with a food registration certificate and can start trading.
7. Get verified
Within your first 6 weeks of operation a verifier will visit your premises with you to assess your procedures and paperwork and make sure all safety procedures and plans are being followed.
Your business will be verified regularly while you're operating.
Verification of your food business
8. Renew your registration
You need to renew your food registration certificate:
- every year if you're on a food control plan, or
- every other year if you're on a national programme.
This is a separate step to verification and will usually happen at a different time.
Renewing your food registration certificate
The Public Health team is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
Phone: 04 499 4444