These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with your city or an attorney.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
What are some things to keep in mind?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. Take your guests to and serve them food from reputable restaurants, food trucks, or professional caterers who keep clean facilities, use fresh ingredients, and have a good food safety track record. Ask your guests in advance if they have food allergies or religious or philosophical codes that may impact what kind of food they can enjoy during their trip.
My experience will involve serving food to guests outside of a traditional restaurant, cafe, or food business. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
If you provide any sort of food you have a duty to ensure that it is ‘safe and suitable’ and to comply with further obligations under the Food Act 2014 and the Food Regulations 2015.
“Food” also includes drink (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and so if you are providing any experiences that involve drinks, such as for example a cocktail making class, you will need to comply with the rules summarised here, as well as the rules summarised in the experiences involving alcohol section.
Food is considered ‘safe and suitable’ if:
- it does not cause or lead to illness; and
- is in the right condition for its intended use and meets labelling, identification and compositional requirements.
In addition, the Food Act 2014 requires certain food sectors to operate a food control plan or national programme to achieve ‘safe and suitable’ food depending on the level of risk to public health that the food sector poses. More information is available here. If you meet these requirements you must be registered with Queenstown Lakes District Council (“Council”). There are fees for registering a food control plan. You may use one of the template plans provided by the Council for registration.
Further, all food businesses which are required to register with the Council will need to comply with the Food Grading Bylaws, which among other things, requires such businesses to submit and display the results of a food grading inspection.
There are some exceptions to operating a food control plan or national programme which apply:
- if your Experience includes food, but you provide the Experience on not more than 1 occasion in any calendar year, and you do not ordinarily trade in food (e.g. you sell food just once a year at a garage sale or annual festival);
- to very small-scale food catering activities in your home or to very small-scale food catering activities at a place where enforcement may not be possible due to the infrequency of the activity or inaccessibility of the location (e.g. food provided at climbing huts or you invite a small number of guests to dine at your house on an ad hoc infrequent basis);
- if you are an individual horticulture producer and you sell produce you have personally produced which requires minimal processing and handling;
- if you are also an accommodation host who provides food using your home kitchen for no more than ten guests who are staying at your home (e.g. small farm stay where guests are invited to dine with their host), or provide only snacks or breakfast to your accommodation guests; or
- if you only supply shelf-stable, manufacturer-packaged food which is not chilled or frozen (and you do not process or package food in any way).
There are some useful tools on the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries website that can help you work out what food rules apply to you. If in doubt, it is best to speak with the Council to determine what food rules apply to you.
Note that even you are exempted from operating a food control plan or national programme, you must still ensure that your food is ‘safe and suitable’.
Here are some examples of where some or all of the above considerations are likely to apply:
- I am a food enthusiast. I regularly invite a large group of guests (10 or more) to my home to enjoy a home-cooked meal for a fee.
- I take people on a walk and provide them with a packed lunch which I prepared.
Here are some examples of where the above considerations are unlikely to apply and you don’t need to register:
- I am a food enthusiast. Occasionally I invite a small group of guests to my home to enjoy a home-cooked meal for a fee.
- I plan to only serve my guests food that has been packaged by the manufacturer and does not need to be chilled or frozen (for example, packets of chips, biscuits or lollies, cans of drink, tins of food).
- I plan to host guests at my local favourite restaurant. Of course, the restaurant will need to make sure that it has registered and that it is following the rules.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by licensed festival organisers.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will also involve serving or providing alcohol, you are encouraged to take a look at our information about experiences involving alcohol. If your experience will involve combining food with another activity (for example, a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
You are also encouraged read our other information pages on business licenses. If you’re in any doubt, please get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you’re operating as a business.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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