Food Act 1981

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Reprint as at 5 August 2013

Food Act 1981

Public Act1981 No 45
Date of assent14 October 1981
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

Part 1
Application and administration of Act


3 Act to bind Crown

4 What constitutes sale

4A Meaning of food safety programme

5 Food offered as prizes


6 Advisory and technical committees

7 Appointment of analysts and officers

7A Designation of Director

8 Exercise of powers of Director and other officers

Part 1A
Exemptions from Food Hygiene Regulations 1974


8A Purpose

8AA Relationship between this Part and Animal Products Act 1999

8AB Relationship between this Part and Wine Act 2003

Applications for exemption

8B Applications for exemption

8C Limitations on further applications

Effect of exemption

8D Effect of exemption

8E Duties of territorial authorities to enforce Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 not affected

Powers of Director-General to grant exemptions

8F Procedure where application made to Director-General

8G Definition of appropriate food safety programme

8H Director-General not to refuse exemption unless applicant given opportunity to be heard

8I Terms of exemption

8J Duration of exemption

8K Revocation of exemption

8L Surrender of exemption

8M Substituted exemption

Powers of territorial authorities to grant exemptions

8N Procedure where application made to territorial authority

8O Applications referred to Director-General

8P Territorial authority not to refuse exemption unless applicant given opportunity to be heard

8Q Terms of exemption

8R Duration of exemption

8S Revocation of exemption

8T Surrender of exemption

8U Substituted exemption

Rights of appeal

8V Rights of appeal

8W Procedure on appeal

8X Determination of appeal

8Y Decision of Director-General to be final

8Z Costs

Transfer of functions of territorial authorities

8ZA Transfer of functions

8ZB Transfer agreement

8ZC Effect of transfer

8ZD Change, revocation, or relinquishment of transfer

Performance standards for territorial authorities

8ZE Minister may issue performance standards

8ZF Territorial authorities to meet performance standards

8ZG Non-performance by territorial authority

8ZH Costs, charges, and expenses incurred by Minister

8ZI Duration of appointment

Monitoring compliance with exemptions

8ZJ Duty to monitor compliance with exemption

Guidelines relating to granting of exemptions by territorial authorities

8ZK Director-General may issue guidelines

8ZL Consultation on guidelines

8ZM Territorial authorities to observe guidelines

8ZN Standard criteria for food safety programmes

8ZO Incorporation of material by reference

8ZP Verification, notification, availability, and commencement of guidelines

Non-compliance with exemption an offence

8ZQ Non-compliance with exemption an offence

Notification of auditor of food safety programmes

8ZR Notification of auditor of food safety programmes

Register of exemptions

8ZS Director-General to maintain register of exemptions

8ZT Duty on territorial authorities to forward information for inclusion on register

8ZU Director-General to notify territorial authority

Approval of persons to audit food safety programmes

8ZV Approval of persons to audit food safety programmes adopted by holders of exemptions

8ZW Integrity of audit process

8ZX Conditions of approval

8ZY Duration of approval

8ZZ Revocation of approval

8ZZA Surrender of approval

8ZZB Director-General to notify territorial authority of revocation or surrender of approval

8ZZC Substituted approval

8ZZD Approved auditor to notify termination of audit contract

8ZZE Offence

8ZZF Director-General to keep list of approved auditors

Miscellaneous provision

8ZZG Other exemption powers not affected

Part 2
Sales and advertisements

9 General prohibitions on sales

10 Misleading labelling and packaging

11 Restrictions on advertising

11AA Contravention of Act, etc, knowing that will create risk to human health

11A Restriction on selling raw milk

Part 2A
Food standards

Purposes of this Part

11B Purposes of this Part

Power to issue food standards

11C Minister may issue food standards

11D Prescribed foods

11E Preconditions for issuing food standard

Incorporation of material by reference

11F Food standards may incorporate material by reference

General provisions relating to food standards

11G Verification, notification, availability, and commencement of food standards

11H Further general provisions relating to food standards

11I Food standards subject to disallowance

11J Minister not to delegate power to issue food standards

11K Proof of food standards

11L Amendment and revocation of food standards

Emergency food standards

11M Emergency food standards

11N Director-General not to delegate power to issue emergency food standards

Offences and penalties

11O Contravention of food standards

11P Prescribed foods

11Q Offences and penalties

Transitional provisions

11R Definitions

11S Application of food standards and food regulations during transition period

11T Minister to identify alternative food standards

11U Persons may elect to be governed by food standards

11V Revocation of election

11W Application of alternative food standards adopted during transition period

11X Effect of adoption of alternative food standards on persons subsequently selling food

11Y Adoption of alternative food standards may be necessary if person to deal with food lawfully

11Z Minister may declare mandatory food standard

11ZA Application of mandatory food standard during transition period

11ZB Inconsistencies between food standards and Food Regulations 1984, and between mandatory and alternative food standards

11ZC Duty to disclose which food regime applies

11ZD Register of elections

11ZE Offences

Part 3

12 Powers of officers

13 Powers of local authority inspectors

14 Further provisions relating to seizure and detention of articles

15 Seizure and destruction of decayed or putrified food

15A Power to issue search warrant even though offence not imprisonable

16 District Court may order return of property or compensation

17 Power of Medical Officer of Health to require information

18 Power to require name and address of seller

19 Source of information or reports need not be disclosed

20 Procuring of samples for analysis

21 How samples to be dealt with

22 Analysis of sample and certificate or report of analyst

23 Evidence of analysis

24 Special provisions relating to imported consignments

25 Presumption that contents conform with label

26 Obstruction of officers

27 Time for filing charging document

27A Copy of analyst's certificate or report to be served with summons

28 General penalty

29 Liability of principal for acts of agents, etc

30 Strict liability

31 Further defences

32 Liability of persons named on labels

33 Payment of expenses of analysis on conviction

34 Forfeiture on conviction

35 Courts may order withdrawal of goods from circulation

Part 4
Miscellaneous provisions

36 Duty of officer to procure sample for analysis on request

37 Statements by Director-General

38 Examination of Customs entries

39 Protection of persons acting under authority of Act

40 Recall of food

41 Records

42 Regulations

42A Regulations for fees and charges

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the sale of food