Introduction to dairy manufacturing

If you make and sell dairy products such as cheese, butter, ice cream, yoghurt or milk – even on a small scale – you need to meet the regulations that apply to your operation.

Manufacturing for sale on the domestic market

If you manufacture dairy products for sale in New Zealand or Australia – the domestic market – you must meet the requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999 (APA). This means you must have:

  • a food control plan (FCP), or
  • a risk management programme (RMP). 

Find out about setting up your dairy FCP or RMP:

Learn more about managing these programmes:

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act:

Exemptions from operating under the APA

If you're making dairy products for consumption onsite, you may be exempt from operating under the APA. For example, if you make ice cream in your restaurant kitchen and serve it to customers in the restaurant, then you're exempt.

Clause 7A of the Exemptions and Inclusions Order has more information about how the exemption works:

Manufacturing for export

If you make dairy products that are intended for export, you must operate under a registered RMP. As well as meeting the requirements for products manufactured for the New Zealand and Australian markets, you'll need to meet some extra requirements. 

Find out more about the requirements for exporting, and for exporting dairy products in particular:

Meeting the requirements for harvesting milk

If you operate under an RMP for milk-harvesting activities, it needs to cover all intended uses of the harvested milk.

If you supply milk to a manufacturing company, such as Fonterra or Westland, and also manufacture dairy products on your farm, the RMP owned and managed by the manufacturing company may not meet all of your regulatory requirements. For example, if you keep some of the harvested milk to manufacture specialist cheese, you may need to meet extra requirements. 

Find out more about the requirements for activities using harvested milk:

Who to contact

If you need to contact MPI for advice about the specific requirements for your dairy operation, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Milking and manufacturing dairy products

If you sell your dairy products, they must be manufactured using milk that has been harvested under an RMP.

There are two options for meeting food safety requirements if you milk animals and also manufacture dairy products:

  1. An RMP that covers both the milking and manufacturing operations.
  2. An RMP for the milking operation and an FCP for your manufacturing operations (this means having two types of compliance-related activity – verification – which is likely to result in extra costs).

Requirements for manufacturing dairy products

Find out how to meet food safety requirements for manufacturing dairy products such as yoghurt, ice cream, cheese or liquid milk:

There are restrictions on the products that you can manufacture using unpasteurised or raw milk. Find out about the requirements for unpasteurised milk products:

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