Food Act 1981

Before its repeal, this Act was administered by: Ministry for Primary Industries
  • repealed
  • Food Act 1981: repealed, on 1 March 2016, by section 420(2) of the Food Act 2014 (2014 No 32).

Reprint as at 1 March 2016

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Food Act 1981

Public Act
1981 No 45
Date of assent
14 October 1981
see section 1(2)

Food Act 1981: repealed, on 1 March 2016, by section 420(2) of the Food Act 2014 (2014 No 32).


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


1Short Title and commencement
3Act to bind Crown
4What constitutes sale
4AMeaning of food safety programme
5Food offered as prizes
6Advisory and technical committees
7Appointment of analysts and officers
7ADesignation of Director
8Exercise of powers of Director and other officers
8AAABorder information supplied using JBMS must be supplied in approved form and manner
8AARelationship between this Part and Animal Products Act 1999
8ABRelationship between this Part and Wine Act 2003
8BApplications for exemption
8CLimitations on further applications
8DEffect of exemption
8EDuties of territorial authorities to enforce Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 not affected
8FProcedure where application made to Director-General
8GDefinition of appropriate food safety programme
8HDirector-General not to refuse exemption unless applicant given opportunity to be heard
8ITerms of exemption
8JDuration of exemption
8KRevocation of exemption
8LSurrender of exemption
8MSubstituted exemption
8NProcedure where application made to territorial authority
8OApplications referred to Director-General
8PTerritorial authority not to refuse exemption unless applicant given opportunity to be heard
8QTerms of exemption
8RDuration of exemption
8SRevocation of exemption
8TSurrender of exemption
8USubstituted exemption
8VRights of appeal
8WProcedure on appeal
8XDetermination of appeal
8YDecision of Director-General to be final
8ZATransfer of functions
8ZBTransfer agreement
8ZCEffect of transfer
8ZDChange, revocation, or relinquishment of transfer
8ZEMinister may issue performance standards
8ZFTerritorial authorities to meet performance standards
8ZGNon-performance by territorial authority
8ZHCosts, charges, and expenses incurred by Minister
8ZIDuration of appointment
8ZJDuty to monitor compliance with exemption
8ZKDirector-General may issue guidelines
8ZLConsultation on guidelines
8ZMTerritorial authorities to observe guidelines
8ZNStandard criteria for food safety programmes
8ZOIncorporation of material by reference
8ZPVerification, notification, availability, and commencement of guidelines
8ZQNon-compliance with exemption an offence
8ZRNotification of auditor of food safety programmes
8ZSDirector-General to maintain register of exemptions
8ZTDuty on territorial authorities to forward information for inclusion on register
8ZUDirector-General to notify territorial authority
8ZVApproval of persons to audit food safety programmes adopted by holders of exemptions
8ZWIntegrity of audit process
8ZXConditions of approval
8ZYDuration of approval
8ZZRevocation of approval
8ZZASurrender of approval
8ZZBDirector-General to notify territorial authority of revocation or surrender of approval
8ZZCSubstituted approval
8ZZDApproved auditor to notify termination of audit contract
8ZZFDirector-General to keep list of approved auditors
8ZZGOther exemption powers not affected
9General prohibitions on sales
10Misleading labelling and packaging
11Restrictions on advertising
11AAContravention of Act, etc, knowing that will create risk to human health
11ARestriction on selling raw milk
11BPurposes of this Part
11CMinister may issue food standards
11DPrescribed foods
11EPreconditions for issuing food standard
11FFood standards may incorporate material by reference
11GVerification, notification, availability, and commencement of food standards
11HFurther general provisions relating to food standards
11IFood standards subject to disallowance
11JMinister not to delegate power to issue food standards
11KProof of food standards
11LAmendment and revocation of food standards
11MEmergency food standards
11NDirector-General not to delegate power to issue emergency food standards
11OContravention of food standards
11PPrescribed foods
11QOffences and penalties
11SApplication of food standards and food regulations during transition period
11TMinister to identify alternative food standards
11UPersons may elect to be governed by food standards
11VRevocation of election
11WApplication of alternative food standards adopted during transition period
11XEffect of adoption of alternative food standards on persons subsequently selling food
11YAdoption of alternative food standards may be necessary if person to deal with food lawfully
11ZMinister may declare mandatory food standard
11ZAApplication of mandatory food standard during transition period
11ZBInconsistencies between food standards and Food Regulations 1984, and between mandatory and alternative food standards
11ZCDuty to disclose which food regime applies
11ZDRegister of elections
12Powers of officers
13Powers of local authority inspectors
14Further provisions relating to seizure and detention of articles
15Seizure and destruction of decayed or putrified food
15APower to issue search warrant even though offence not imprisonable
16District Court may order return of property or compensation
17Power of Medical Officer of Health to require information
18Power to require name and address of seller
19Source of information or reports need not be disclosed
20Procuring of samples for analysis
21How samples to be dealt with
22Analysis of sample and certificate or report of analyst
23Evidence of analysis
24Special provisions relating to imported consignments
25Presumption that contents conform with label
26Obstruction of officers
27Time for filing charging document
27ACopy of analyst’s certificate or report to be served with summons
28General penalty
29Liability of principal for acts of agents, etc
30Strict liability
31Further defences
32Liability of persons named on labels
33Payment of expenses of analysis on conviction
34Forfeiture on conviction
35Courts may order withdrawal of goods from circulation
36Duty of officer to procure sample for analysis on request
37Statements by Director-General [Repealed]
38Examination of Customs entries
39Protection of persons acting under authority of Act
40Recall of food [Repealed]
42ARegulations for fees and charges
Reprint notes

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