Food Safety

Whether you’re running a large scale commercial event or a small community fundraiser, as the event organiser you’re responsible for food safety at your event. Events play an important role in our community. No one wants people to get sick from food they eat at an event, and it’s certainly not something you want associated with your event.

The rules around food safety at events have recently changed. This section will help you understand your responsibilities toward providing safe and suitable food options at your next event.


A new approach to managing food safety

The Food Act 2014 (in force from 1 March 2016) has introduced changes for anyone providing or selling food at events.


Fundraising and community events

In a nutshell, if you’re running a community, fundraising, charity or occasional event you’ll no longer require a food stall permit to sell or provide food. However, it’s your responsibility as an event organiser to make sure food vendors have adequate facilities to comply with food safety regulations. You must make sure all food at your event is suitable and safe to eat.


Commercial food operators

Commercial food operators at events fall into two main categories:

  • New food businesses must register under The Food Act 2014, from 1 March 2016. New food businesses wanting to register under the Act can get in touch with our QLDC Environmental Health Team, email: or phone: 03 441 0499.
  • Existing food businesses will transition to operating under the new Act between 2016 and 2019. Until the transition is complete, these businesses may continue to operate under existing laws. Event organisers must make sure these operators have a current registration with their local authority eg. Queenstown Lakes District Council.

To help food operators find out where they fit into the new rules use the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) ‘Where Do I Fit’ web tool at the following link:


Working with commercial food operators at your event

As an event organiser, you have an obligation to ensure any commercial food vendors at your event are registered and complying with food safety regulations. Commercial food vendors must always display a copy of their current registration certificate at the event.

If any commercial vendors need more information about how the Food Act 2014 affects them, or the transition timetable, you can put them in touch with our Environmental Health Team or refer them to the MPI website:

QLDC’s requirements

Our Environmental Health Team is responsible for ensuring that all food operators in the Queenstown Lakes District are following safe and suitable food handling practices.

Event organisers must provide the Environmental Health Team with a list of food vendors working at their event, and include the following information:

  • Specify whether food vendors are commercially registered, community food vendors or a ‘once a year’ food vendors
  • All food vendor contact details
  • Commercial food operator registration details.

We’ve provided a simple spreadsheet to help make sure you provide all the appropriate information. Please download the spreadsheet, fill it in and email it to

How do I make sure food at my event is safe?

Food safety should be part of your Event Health and Safety Planning. There are potential risks when providing or selling food that need to be considered and mitigated.

We’ll be randomly checking food safety standards at events. So to help you comply, we’ve pulled together some tips and checklists below.

Checklist – please remember to:

  • Check with us before your event takes place to find out about any requirements
  • Identify who will be providing food and what food will be sold at the event
  • Email a list of all food vendors to QLDC Environmental Health: - including commercial food operator registration details 
  • Provide food operators with all relevant food safety information and guidelines
  • Identify what facilities and how many of each will be needed, ie:
    • Toilets
    • Wash basins with water, soap and towels
    • Water supply
    • Power supply
    • Rubbish bins
    • Waste water disposal
    • On site food storage equipment and location
  • Decide where the food stalls and supporting facilities will be positioned. Are facilities close to where they will be needed by food operators?
  • Identify who will be responsible for maintaining the facilities, ie removing rubbish, and when it will be done
  • Identify parking or site access issues that might affect food vendors.
  • Nominate a staff member to inspect food vendors prior to the event to make sure they have:
    • Hand washing facilities eg. container of water with tap, and bucket to catch grey water, soap and paper towels. Hand-sanitiser alone is not sufficient.
    • Suitable perishable food storage eg. chilli-bins with ice, or refrigeration Facilities for washing equipment eg. thermos with hot water, soap, bowl, scrubbing brush and clean tea towels
    • Cleaning and sanitising equipment and chemicals
    • Designated cash handler (no food handling)
    • Commercial food vendor registration certificates displayed.


Other tips and resources


MPI also provide a useful Food Safety Guidance information sheet “Be Food Safe” which should be distributed, or made visible to any food vendors working at your event.


Online Food Safety Course

We recommend that all food vendors at Fundraising and Community Events complete an online food safety course to help food handlers understand safe and suitable food handling requirements. For example:


Selling or supplying alcohol at your event - Special Alcohol Licence

If you wish to sell or supply alcohol at your event please be aware that by law you must submit a special licence application at least 20 working days prior to the event.

For larger events please allow as much time as possible for our licencing team to process an application. Please be aware that if non-registered commercial food operators are found at events, it may affect the organisers suitably to hold any future alcohol special licences.


Need help?

For Food Safety related questions, please contact a duty QLDC Environmental Health Officer on 03 441 0499 or email

If you’d like to talk more generally about your event, just get in touch with Jan Maxwell or Marie Day at the Council Events Office, phone 03 441 0499 or email to arrange a time to chat.