Food Safety | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Food Safety

Ngā Tai Ora – Public Health Northland is responsible for investigating foodborne illnesses and food poisoning complaints.

The responsibility of inspecting and licencing food premises sits with the district council's Environmental Health Officer teams.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) leads New Zealand's food safety system, protecting the health and wellbeing of consumer. 

For further information, contact: Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) 0800 693 721

MPI is responsible for handling queries regarding:

  • Food Complaints including foreign objects or undeclared allergens in food within our region;
  • Imported Food;
  • Food Safety Programmes; and
  • Food Labelling

Food-borne illness (often referred to as food poisoning) is a result of the spoilage or contamination of food and/or drink. Food poisoning is highly contagious and is a public health concern if contaminated foods are served to the public.  Ngā Tai Ora - Public Health Northland has a role in investigating diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals which can be spread in the following way:

  • Consuming contaminated food (food poisoning);
  • Consuming contaminated water;
  • Having contact with animals;
  • Having direct contact with another person with symptoms of food poisoning;
  • From contaminated objects in the environment.

The common symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps are caused by the digestive system being inflamed. These symptoms can last from a few hours, days, weeks or months depending on the causative organism.

I think I have food poisoning! Now what?

Suspected food poisoning cases are reported to Health Protection Officer (HPO) directly by members of the public, as well as confirmed cases reported by laboratories/health care workers.  If you think you have food poisoning see your GP. You may need to provide faeces (poo) samples and food specimens if available to assist in an investigation.


To report a suspected or confirmed case of food-borne illness call the On-Call Health Protection Officer on 09-430 4100

Condition and Hygiene of Food Premises

Contact an Environmental Health Officer at your local council if you would like to report unclean food premises or unhygienic practices of food handlers.  

Contact your local councils here:

Raw Milk

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised (heat treated) to kill harmful bacteria such as Campylobacter, Listeria and toxin-producing strains of E. coli.

It is not always possible to tell by taste, sight or smell if raw milk will make you sick.

Pregnant women, young children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to become unwell through drinking raw milk.

For more information on raw milk visit: MPI 

Marae Food Safety

It is important for visitors on a Marae that only safe food is provided.

MPI has produced a guide detailing food safety practices on the Marae:

Hand Hygiene

Hand washing is an important part of food preparation and important for preventing people from becoming unwell.

When washing your hands remember to:

  1. Wet hands under clean, running water. Use warm water if you can.
  2. Put soap on your hands and wash for 20 seconds. Liquid soap is best
  3. Rub hands together until bubbles form,
  4. Rub both sides of both hands,
  5. In between fingers and thumbs,
  6. And around both hands
  7. Rinse soap off under clean running water
  8. Dry hands all over for 20 seconds. Using paper towels is best (or a clean, dry towel if at home).

Last modified: