Ruapehu District Council (RDC) wants to see every food premises operator in the region be able to display an A grade certificate.

A new food premises grading system comes into effect in mid-November and is being introduced to shops, restaurants and cafés throughout the district.

They will be given either an A, B, D or E grade which will need to be prominently displayed for customers to see.

RDC believes that the grading system for food businesses will better enable people to make a more informed decision when choosing a restaurant or buying food.


Team leader of environmental health and liquor Phoebe Harrison said that RDC are "pulling out all the stops" to work with food premises operators to help them get an A rating.

"Council sees it as critical that food businesses are able to display an A grade certificate and are putting in additional resources to help get everyone up to the required standard," she said.

"The grading of food premises is being used by more and more councils around New Zealand and is increasingly demanded by tourists who see the grading certificates on display in other parts of the country."

The display of a grade certificate gives both residents and visitors confidence in the standards of cleanliness, food handling and staff training in any given food business.

Harrison said that up until the end of May, RDC is undertaking a preliminary round of inspecting kitchens and checking record keeping.

"We use the best practice evaluation methods to assess the state and maintenance of the premises, food handling and storage practices, cleanliness and staff training," she said.

"From mid-June we will start giving food premises an indicative grade and feedback based on this preliminary round."

The indicative grade is not intended to be displayed but to help food businesses not at an A grade standard to identify areas they need to work on.

RDC will be assisting food businesses that receive an indicative grade of less than A to do what is necessary to reach the A grade certificate standard.

These food premises will then have an opportunity to make whatever changes are needed before their final grade certificate is issued.