National Programme Verification Audits - Level 1, 2 and 3

Working with a National Programme is the way that lower risk food businesses operate under the Food Act 2014. 

Lower and medium risk businesses follow a National Programme. This means they don't need to use written food control plans, but must register the business, meet food safety standards, keep some records, and get checked.

There are 3 levels of National Programmes, which are based on the food safety risk of the activities a business does:

National Programme 1 - Lower risk and will apply to businesses such as:

  • Transporters or distributors of food products
  • Horticultural food producers and horticultural packing operations (packhouse's)
  • Retailers of manufacturer-packaged ice cream and iced confectionery.

National Programme 2 - Medium risk and will apply to businesses such as:

  • Bread bakeries
  • Manufacturers of jams, chips and confectionery
  • Manufacturers of sauces and spreads.

National Programme 3 - Higher risk and will apply to businesses such as:

  • Brewers and distillers
  • Food additive manufacturers
  • Fruit drink and flour manufacturers.

Guidance material has been issued by MPI o assist with each level of registration.

All National Programmes require:

  • Record keeping to show that you're selling safe food - MPI have put together Food business record blanks 
  • Registration of business details with your local council (or with MPI if you operate in more than one local area)
  • One or more visits from a verifier recognised by MPI
  • If you are involved in processing food, you must meet national programme processing requirements.


Record Keeping Needed

   National Programme 1 National Programme 2 National Programme 3
Competency and Training Training Records
Personal Hygiene Illness Policy
ECE & Retailers of chilled or frozen food: - You don’t need to keep records specifically relating to personal hygiene
All other Sectors: - Keep records about staff reporting as sick and what you have done to ensure they aren't a source of food contamination
Suitable Water Self-Supply Water tests
Mobile hot drinks businesses are recommended to keep records of water sources for each location they operate in
Cleaning We recommend a cleaning schedule is developed that includes items to be cleaned, the frequency, the method and chemicals used  
Checking for pests Records of types and numbers of pests found - use "when something goes wrong" form
Maintaining equipment and facilities All sectors except ECE and retailer of chilled or frozen food: - Must keep records of when something goes wrong with maintenance  
Sourcing, receiving and tracing food Records:
- Suppliers
- Type and quantity of food/ingredients you have received (including the date of receipt)
- The temperature of chilled food when it was received
Manufacturers Only
- What foods ingredients or inputs have gone into (or onto)
- Production/batch record that includes date made, product, quantity
- Who you sell/deliver your food to - date, product, batch and quantity (unless it is direct to the final consumer)
Thoroughly Cooking or Pasteurising Food ECE you must record the temperature/time combination achieved each time you cook poultry or ground minced meat  
Transporting Food Keep temperature and/or humidity records for each relevant vehicle and transport run √   √
When something goes wrong Customer Complaints
Internal Problems
Other   Please refer to the National Programme Guidance 2 or 3 for other records that may be necessary to be kept depending on your product for eg pH if making an acidic product       
Other forms could be, shelf life testing, label checklist, chilled storage temperatures, thermometer calibration


 Verification Objectives

To verify your documented National Programme documentation and operating practices for compliance against the approved programme and to determine compliance with the Food Act 2014, Food Regulations 2015, MPI approval and conditions, Notices and any applicable codes of practice.

We visit your operations and verify whether your approved programme is in place and is effective. This is carried out by checking your records, interviewing staff and observing practices

  • Any deficiencies identified are reported to you immediately.  Follow this link for more information on verification outcomes  MPI Verification Topic Outcomes
  • An audit report is issued and audit outcomes are communicated to MPI
  • Upon closure of your audit report a certificate will be issued. 

Further guidance can be found on the MPI website; follow this link to National Programmes