Food & Beverage Management

Food safety regulations play an important role in safeguarding public health when it comes to the sale of food and beverages.

The Food Act (2014) outlines the requirements for any business that sells food products in New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for enacting this legislation and providing the framework for compliance.

In the context of event management, it can be a good option to out-source food and beverage service aspects to catering companies, mobile food vendors or other businesses that are already set up with food safety registrations and food plans in place. In these cases, food and beverage contractors should provide a certificate of registration under the Food Act to show that they have undergone the required scrutiny to their food preparation, handling, storage, and service practices.


Food Safety Registration Process

If you wish to sell food and beverages at an event, you will most likely need to register with either your local council or MPI and have a Food Control Plan (FCP) or National Programme (NP) in place to ensure that food safety regulations are adhered to.

  • The My Food Rules tool ( helps to determine which legislation you should operate under, who to register with, and the plan or programme to use.
  • The notebook for businesses making and selling food ( is another helpful resource which outlines the process of food safety compliance from start to finish.
  • The Food Control Plan or National Programme identified to use once you have gone through the My Food Rules tool can include:
    • Template Food Control Plans
    • Custom Food Control Plans
    • National Programme 1-3
    • You could be exempt from this requirement.
  • Download and/or print out your plan or programme from the My Food Rules tool (available in English and translations for 8 other languages) and provide training for your staff to ensure that the food they prepare and serve is safe and suitable.
    • Record-keeping as identified in the various food plans and programmes is an important requirement to ensure traceability in the event of a public health incident.
  • Register with either your local council or MPI – the My Food Rules tool will advise which is applicable, and how to go about this.
  • The final step in the process is to get your plan or programme checked by an official food safety verifier to ensure it is sufficient and meets food safety regulations. Search here for official food safety verifiers.

Fundraising, Community and Social Events

  • The Ministry for Primary Industries has a section on their website for these types of events (Fundraising, Community and Social Events Food Safety - dedicated to guidance, rules, and regulations around safe food handling.
  • Food and beverages provided at these types of events may come under the category of ‘Low Risk’ food activities and in certain cases, this can mean that they are exempt from the requirement to register as a food business. You don’t need to register if you:
    • Only sell food for personal profit once a year;
    • Only sell fruit and vegetables, that you grow yourself, directly to consumers;
    • Are fundraising and you sell food less than 20 times a year;
    • Are providing food to members of your sports club or social club, where food is not the purpose of the event.
  • Even if you do not need to register as a food business, you still have the responsibility of ensuring that all food sold is safe to eat – i.e. it won’t make people sick, and it is labelled or sold as what it actually is or contains.

Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

  • Considering any food allergies and dietary requirements that your attendees may have can help to avoid adverse situations at your event.
  • Surveying attendees prior to the event allows you to plan your menu accordingly and provide options that cater to everyone.
  • Ensure all food products are clearly labelled with their ingredients and any potential allergens.
  • Take precautions such as separate cutting boards, utensils, containers and preparation areas, to prevent cross-contamination of foods that may contain allergens.
  • Ensure your staff are sufficiently trained in food-handling and are able to provide informed responses to enquiries from attendees about ingredients and potential allergens.
  • Ensure an emergency response plan is in place in case of allergic reactions and include this in your Event Health and Safety Plan.

Menu Selection

  • Providing an appropriate selection of food and beverages for your target audience ensures that attendees desires are met, while also increasing the likelihood of sales and reducing food waste.
  • Cultural and ethical considerations may need to be made to ensure that food and beverages on offer are appropriate to attendees’ dietary requirements.
  • Opting for locally sourced and sustainable ingredients not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint of the event.


  • Food and beverages need to be served to attendees in some form of packaging. This is an expense that must be accounted for, including the managing of waste produced.
  • Reusable or compostable packaging are the most sustainable options. Read more about this in our Sustainability section.


  • Under the Food Act (2014), it is important to ensure that your suppliers are also registered and that they have appropriate food safety plans in place, especially around food items while they are in transit.
  • Check out our Event Supplier Database if you are looking for local food and beverage suppliers or mobile vendors.

Logistics & Timing

  • Coordinating the delivery, setup and timing of food and beverage services is essential to ensure smooth operations and avoid long wait times or shortages.
  • Forecasting required amounts of ingredients, beverage stock and other food service items is another important aspect in consistent and reliable food and beverage service.
  • These may seem like simple aspects, but they can be a major factor in how your event is perceived by attendees!


  • If you intend to serve alcohol at your event, there are further requirements for both food service and beverage provision. Learn more about these requirements and other considerations on our Alcohol Licensing page.
Useful Links:

Food Act 2014 | Ministry for Primary Industries (

My Food Rules tool | New Zealand Food Safety (

The notebook for businesses making and selling food | New Zealand Food Safety (

Register of Food Safety Verifiers | New Zealand Food Safety (

Fundraising, community and social event food safety | New Zealand Food Safety (

Food safety tips for event organisers | New Zealand Food Safety (

Food safety tips for selling food at occasional events | New Zealand Food Safety (

Selling Food | Invercargill City Council | (

Selling Food | Southland District Council (


Have you considered?
  • What food and beverages are suitable for your event’s target audience?
  • What precautions are you taking to prevent cross-contamination of foods that may contain allergens?
  • How will clean drinking water be stored and delivered to attendees?
  • How many toilets will my event need?
  • What type of packaging will food and beverages be served in?
  • Are you intending to serve alcohol at your event? Refer to the [Alcohol Licensing] page for more information.