News | 19 June 2024
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Public Health team keeping kai safe

There has been a rise in food being sold on Facebook Marketplace, from homemade sausages to leftover baking. While it may seem simple to sell kai, it's important for home-based food businesses in New Zealand to understand our food standards, to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.

food in clear containers

Wellington City’s Public Health team has a large role in keeping good food standards across the city. They manage over 1800 licensed venues, ranging from restaurants, cafes, bars, dairies, and even childcare centres.   

The team work hard to make sure that everyone who sells food does so under the rules of the 2014 Food Act, to minimise the risk of foodborne illness and ensure that food sold is safe and suitable for consumption. 

Senior Environmental Health Officer Varun Guru says that they have been noticing a lot of unregistered food vendors popping up online. 

“There has been an influx of food being sold through Facebook Marketplace, which isn’t regulated by the platform. We worry because a few years ago, some people got seriously ill from buying food this way. The law is that if you are legally selling food and receiving money in exchange, you need to follow food safety practices.” 

While platforms like Facebook Marketplace provide a convenient space for reaching potential customers, sellers must remain compliant. It's essential to uphold the same standards of hygiene, labelling, and quality control as any public café, restaurant, or bar.   

However, online food vendors don’t need to fret, as the Public Health team is here to support businesses and help them meet the requirements of the Food Act. 

“If they get in touch with us, we can work alongside people to help get their food up to standard. We want them to succeed,” says Varun.   

Hangi being prepared in trays

The three main steps to compliance include registering your business with the Council, determining a food control plan, and making sure all food safety practices are adhered to. If vendors don’t comply, they don’t just risk the safety of their community, they also risk being fined or shut down.  

“A lot of people believe that we’re anti-online food sales, but we just want to keep people safe. We are on your side if you reach out!” 

For those looking to buy food off Marketplace, says Varun, the best thing they can do is ask more about the products. 

“Always check with the seller that they are registered to sell food, ask them about their food handling practices, including how they store and transport their products, and trust your instincts If something seems amiss.” 

If you have any questions, please contact the Public Health team at  

You can apply for a food registration here.