Transition timetable

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. It applies to all new food businesses from that date but existing food businesses will transition between 2016 and 2019 according to these timetables.

Food Act implementation timetables

By 28 February 2019, all food businesses will be operating under the new Act. Until the transition time for your food sector ends, you can continue to operate under existing laws.

You can move to the new law any time from 1 March 2016. However, from the start date of each transition period, MPI will be focused on providing additional guidance and support to food businesses in each group.

You must apply to register your food control plan or national programme business 3 months before the final date for registration.

Download the timetable for moving to the Food Act 2014 [PDF, 238 KB]

Are you an existing operator not previously registered?

Some existing businesses may not be registered under the old Food Act. If this is the case, don’t worry. If you were operating before 1 March 2016, you should transition at the same time as the rest of your sector.

Food Control Plans

1 March 2016 to 30 June 2017 1 July 2017 to 30 June
1 July 2018 to 28 February 2019
Apply by 31 March 2017 Apply by 31 March 2018 Apply by 30 November 2018
Manufacturers of food for vulnerable populations.* Manufacturers of commercially sterilised food products. Manufacturers of vegetable protein and other protein products.
Manufacturers of fresh ready-to-eat salads. Manufacturers of meat, poultry or fish products.  Businesses with a deemed food control plan.
Manufacturers of non-shelf stable sauces, spreads, dips, soups, broths, gravies or dressings. Manufacturers of dairy products.  
Food service sector – on-licence. For example restaurants, cafes, caterers and hotels. Manufacturers of processed egg products.  
  Manufacturers of meals and prepared food.  
  Wholesale bakers.  
  Food retailers who prepare or manufacture and sell food – including retail butchers, fishmongers, delis, and supermarkets  
  Food service sector – no on-licence. For example cafes, takeaways, caterers, accommodation businesses, hospitals, residential care and educational facilities, and prisons.  

* Find out more about vulnerable populations

National Programme 3

1 March 2016 to 30 June 2017 1 July 2017 to 30 June
1 July 2018 to 28 February 2019
  Apply by 31 March 2018 Apply by 30 November 2018
  Processors of herbs or spices. Grain processors.
  Retailers who handle food (but do not prepare or manufacture food). Manufacturers of oils and fats for human consumption.
  Manufacturers of food additives, processing aids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients intended to be added to food. Manufacturers of dry mix powders.
  Manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages. Brewers, distillers, manufacturers of vinegar, alcoholic beverages or malt extract.

National Programme 2

1 March 2016 to 30 June 2017 1 July 2017 to 30 June
1 July 2018 to 28 February 2019
Apply by 31 March 2017 Apply by 31 March 2018 Apply by 30 November 2018
Food services to pre-school children (including children under 5 years) in a centre-based setting. Retailers of manufacturer-packaged chilled and frozen food (excluding ice cream and iced confectionery). Manufacturers of shelf-stable grain-based products.
Processors of nuts or seeds. Manufacturers of confectionery. Manufacturers of crisps, popcorn, pretzels, soy crisps or similar snack products.
  Bakeries that prepare or manufacture bread or bread-derived products only. Manufacturers of dried or dehydrated fruit or vegetables.
    Manufacturers of water-based products including ice, iced confectionery and desserts.
    Manufacturers of shelf-stable condiments (including sauces, spreads and preserves).
    Manufacturers of frozen fruit and vegetables.

National Programme 1

Businesses operating under National Programme 1 will transition to the new requirements between 1 July 2018 and 28 February 2019. You should apply by 30 November 2018 to register your National Programme 1 business.

The businesses in National Programme 1 are:

  • Retailers of hot beverages and shelf-stable manufacturer-packaged foods only.
  • Extractors and packers of honey.
  • Manufacturers of sugar or related products.
  • Transporters or distributors of food products.
  • Producers of horticultural food and horticultural packing operations (packhouses).
  • Retailers of manufacturer-packaged ice cream and iced confectionery.

Transition from listed food importer to registered food importer

If you were a listed food importer with MPI before 1 March 2016, you are considered to be a registered food importer until at least 1 July 2016. You'll need to re-apply after 1 July 2016 to continue to be a registered food importer. To find out when you need to register by:

  • Check your Letter of Listing to find out what day and month you became a listed food importer. It doesn't matter what year.
  • Find the corresponding day and month between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

That is the date by which you must register as a food importer. If you can't find out the day and month you became a listed food importer, email

Plan or programme?

If you're unsure if you'll be operating under a food control plan, or a national programme, use our online tool – Where do I fit? Then return to this page to check the timetable.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the transition timetable, email

Last reviewed:
Has this been useful? Give us your feedback