Food Safe Blog

At Food Safe, we are very passionate about all aspects of food safety training, risk management and internal auditing. Food Safe offers a range of services to businesses in the food and related products sector across New Zealand.

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Recent blog posts

Food Safe AUT Lecture


Professor Len Gillman, Head of School, School of Science at Auckland University of Technology and Dr. Brent Seale Programme Leader - Food Safety, launch New Zealand first cohort of BSc Food Safety Graduates.

What sets this group of students and graduates apart?

Students have more laboratory related practical experience and time compared to most other universities in New Zealand, particularly in Microbiology.

They have knowledge of Quality Assurance (QA) skills, covering Food Safety Systems so they have a better chance to hit the ground running.

These QA skills include:

  • ISO 22000 - Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
  • Crisis Management
  • Auditing
  • Prerequisite programmes (PRP)

What is a list of some of their papers?

Year 1:

Principles of Chemistry Knowledge, Enquiry, and Communication Microbiology Food Science Biological Chemistry Biological Sampling and Interpretation Health and Environment Biophysics

Year 2:

Analytical Chemistry Environmental Risk Assessment Quality Assurance Communicable Diseases Food Microbiology

Year 3:

Advanced Food Microbiology Health Protection Food Industry Legislation Food Safety Systems Electives: Food Technology Process Engineering Food Chemistry Product Development Research Project


Benefits to Food Companies from Food Safe and AUT collaborating?

  • Clients of Food Safe benefit from even more world-class academic research and networks in the field of Microbiology and Food Science, including leading-edge biotechnology expertise.
  • The ability to tap into resource capability (including Ph.D. and Masters experts) and "boots on the ground" when a technical non-conformance (NC) is holding up operational performance.
  • The ability to scale joint projects at will with an even smarter capability skill-set.
  • Increase competitive advantage at speed while bridging any knowledge gaps.


Benefits to students from Food Safe and AUT collaborating?

Links and exposure to real-world food sector experiences.

Better focus on gap analysis between student knowledge and what companies are looking for and need.

Improved motivation and mentorship at a critical junction in a student's life


What drives this collaboration between Food Safe and AUT?

Click on this link

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New Food Safety Grading: 5 Main Criteria an A grade is based on and how council scores a business 100%

Food safety grading certificates issued by Auckland council to food businesses (Courtesy: Auckland Council)

Food safety grading / Eatsafe grading is a new grading system introduced by the Auckland city council based on the Food Safety Act, 2014 (FA,14) which was enforced from March 2016. Earlier the food outlets were governed by the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 (FHR) which is now replaced by the FA,14.

As a result, there are two grading schemes, all the food business which works under the FHR still follow the same procedure while the other business which work on Food Safety Act, 2014 follow the Eatsafe grading system. However, all the FHR operated, and regulated businesses need to implement and register under the FA,14 by the 1st of July 2018.

It is essential for every food outlets / food business owners / retail owners (i.e. takeaways, cafes, restaurants, lunch bars, dairies, supermarkets, butchers, greengrocers, etc) to display the food safety grading certificate to ensure that the public is informed of the food safety standards achieved.

Unlike the previous food safety acts, the 2014 Food Safety Act focuses more on the food processes that the food product has gone through rather than taking account of the premises where the food is manufactured. However, the new grading is based on the factors such as food processes, cleanliness, cooking and chilling steps, food operator’s knowledge and experience. In addition, food composition and labelling also plays an important role in deciding the grades of eateries / food outlets.


FHR operated businesses are assessed based on their compliance to FHR and food hygiene training requirements of the Auckland Council bylaw. FHR grading does not have C grade, if any critical risk is observed then an automatic E grade is awarded to the food outlet. By the Environment Health Officer (EHO). On the other hand, food businesses under Food Safety Act -14 are assessed based on their compliance to Food Control Plan (FCP).

FCP assessment is based on its verification of three major components:

  • Document review: documented procedures are checked, and the identification of risks and hazards and how the business will address them is also checked
  • Records: the records that the business must keep are examined
  • Reality check: the processes are observed, and staff are questioned to ascertain whether FCP requirements are being followed.


New Auckland Council Food Grade Verification Topics

Criteria for verification steps are explained in supplementary document below (Courtesy: MPI and Auckland council). Thus, Food safety grading is based on 4 Cs – Cook, Clean, Chill and Conduct, as the Council says.

As a result of the verification outcomes, every food outlet is issued a grade A-E, A grade is 91 -100%, B grade is 90 - 61 %, C grade is 60 – 50 %, D and E grades. All the above grades are monitored and generated electronically by the council verifier. The software will automatically calculate the grade based on the score awarded to reality check, process or records.

For a food business to be awarded an A or B, the outcome needs to be in acceptable levels. D and E grade would generally mean the levels achieved by the outlet is unsatisfactory /unacceptable. However, a C grade generally denotes an acceptable/ unacceptable outcome with no FSO action (food safety officer).

In any instance, if a verifier identifies a critical risk to food safety with the food outlet, the FSO usually steps in to investigate and comes up with a working measure against the risk. There have been cases where a food business is issued with an E or D grade due to food complaints when the business is unsuccessful in verification.

A 'D' grade is often issued when FSO puts forth a notice of direction / improvement notice in relation to food safety issue and an E grade is issued when the FSO closes the food business due to critical risk as a result of non-compliance, the business will be reopened only when the FSO feels there Is no food safety risk. An E grade certificate must be displayed until next verification.

Contributor: Maya Murthy Malavalli
Postgraduate student, AUT (Food Science, Food Microbiology & QA)

Contributor acknowledgement: I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Alan Ahmu, Team Leader Food Safety and Health Enforcement, Licensing and Regulatory Compliance from Auckland council and Ministry of Primary Industries, NZ for their extensive support and guidance in giving information on food safety grading. 



Take the challenge and test your understanding by doing the quiz below!



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AUT Memorandum of Collaboration MOC


Purpose: To facilitate and promote cooperation between Auckland University Of Technology (AUT) and Food Safe Ltd by the sharing of knowledge of the current status of the food safety industry and research.

AUT School of Applied Sciences has a well-respected footprint in both New Zealand and China where it offers a Food Microbiology programme.

This Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) is the result of a relationship that goes back several years to 2014 aimed at continuously improving knowledge and the current status of the food safety and world-class research both in New Zealand as well as globally.

This collaboration is a joint initiative to promote a holistic understanding of food safety across the value chain underpinned by academic rigor in line with the Dairy Capability Working Group Report produced by the Ministry For Primary Industries (MPI)

Food Safe Limited and the School of Applied Science at AUT intend to continue this relationship as a result of this formal MOC and pursue further co-operation in fields that are of mutual benefit.


Synergy: Our expanded collaboratory scope now links four continents: Australia, Asia, Europe and the US with even stronger relationships within New Zealand.


Benefits to Food Companies?

  • Clients of Food Safe will now benefit from even more world-class academic research and NETWORKS in the field of Microbiology and Food Science, including leading-edge biotechnology expertise.
  • The ability to tap into unlimited resource capability (including PhD and Masters experts) and "boots on the ground" when a technical non-conformance (NC) is holding up operational performance.
  • The ability to scale joint projects at will with an even smarter capability skill-set.
  • Increase competitive advantage at speed while bridging any knowledge gaps.   


What drives our Synergy? 

  • Sharing of learning and best-practice.
  • Joint participation in course development and delivery.
  • Visits by an exchange of staff for the purposes of research, teaching, and discussions.
  • Joint research activities.


Food Safe's Goal: Help people and companies succeed! 


Some slides about Food Safe's Business Beyond Commerce (Sustainability), Journey:



Read all about Food Safe's Business Beyond Commerce Journey on this link  


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Setting business goals for the year ahead?

Here are some food safety training case studies to benefit from


From small to big business! Here is an example of a Food & Beverage business collaborating with Food Safe



From Farm-to-Fork! Here is how Strawberry Fields collaborate with Food Safe to implement training and manage food safety hazards and their brand. 




From Child Care to Senior Living! Here's how a large Early Childhood Education company with ten kids centres collaborates with Food Safe to comply with the roll-out of the Food Act 2014 in the Childcare Sector starting 2017



Here's how a large Dairy Company collaborated with Food Safe in 2017 to continuously improve operations from farm to can!



Small food business case study 1



Small food business case study 2


Medium sized food company case study


Large food company case study


The video below shows you how Food Safe collaborates with food companies to get to goals:



At Food Safe we are proud of our the feedback we receive from clients and trainees year-on-year.



Want to know what companies and senior managers think of out training?

Click here

Eager to know how you too can benefit?

Give us a ring on 0800 003 097 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll show you how you too can benefit from New Zealand Certificate training.


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Team leadership skills for food company operators and compliance team members straight from the All Blacks! 


What does it take to be a winning team?

Video 2 from the All Blacks! 

How does the team handle the pressure?

Video 3 from the All Blacks! 

Eager to know more?

Give us a ring on 0800 003 097 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll show you how you too can benefit for New Zealand Certificate training.



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