ACVMs exempt from registration

Some agricultural compounds don't need to be registered before they are imported, manufactured, sold, or used. Find out when this applies, and how to meet the requirements of the regulations.

Compounds or products that are exempt

Most agricultural compounds need to be registered under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. However, some compounds or products are exempt from registration because they pose little risk when they are imported, manufactured, sold, and used properly.

While exempt agricultural compounds can be imported, manufactured, sold, or used without registration, they must still meet the conditions in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011. These conditions are to minimise risks.

Exemptions apply to a product type or group, not individual compounds or products. A complete list of exempt product types and groups, and the conditions that apply, is in the regulations.

ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011, Schedule 2 – NZ Legislation

Obligations for exempt products

We've issued notices and guidelines to clarify the obligations that must be met.

Notice: Agricultural Compounds Exempt from Registration [PDF, 374 KB]

Notice: Imported Feed Commodities [PDF, 264 KB]

Guideline: Obligations under the ACVM regulations [PDF, 418 KB]

Other legislation may apply to exempt compounds

Agricultural compounds that are exempt from ACVM registration may have to meet requirements under other laws, including the:

  • Biosecurity Act 1993
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • Animal Products Act 1999.

Examples of exempt products

A range of compounds and products are exempt from ACVM registration. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is often asked about requirements for:

  • pet food, animal feeds, and nutritional supplements
  • plant nutrients and soil management products.

Pet food, animal feeds, and nutritional supplements

Pet food, animal feeds, and nutritional supplements are agricultural compounds under the ACVM legislation. They are normally exempt from registration because they don't pose much risk.

However, they will not be exempt if their label has a therapeutic claim. For example, a pet food label might state "this pet food is good for dogs with arthritis". Therapeutic label claims increase the ACVM risks, especially to animal welfare. The product must go through the veterinary medicine registration process to prove the claim is accurate.

Find out more about pet food, animal feeds, and nutritional supplements

Plant nutrients and soil management

Fertilisers, plant biostimulants, and soil conditioners are normally exempt from registration because they don't pose much risk. However, they will not be exempt if their label has a claim that suggests the product is an agricultural chemical. For example, a plant nutrient label might state that it "controls bud break".

In a situation like this, the product must go through the agricultural chemical registration process and prove the claim is accurate.

Find out more about plant nutrients and soil management

Research, testing, and teaching exemption

Some organisations regularly use agricultural compounds for research, testing, or teaching (RTT). They may be eligible for an exemption under the ACVM regulations. This will allow them to carry out RTT activities without having to apply for approval for each compound used.

To meet exemption conditions, you must have an operating plan that has been approved by MPI. To get this, you need to:

  • use our template to write an operating plan
  • complete an application form
  • submit the application and the plan to MPI for approval.

RTT operating plan template [DOC, 675 KB]

RTT operating plan application form [DOC, 431 KB]

Guide to submitting an operating plan for agricultural compounds used under the regulatory exemption for RTT purposes [PDF, 157 KB]

Own use exemption

Agricultural compounds may be exempt from registration if:

  • they are used on the person's own land
  • the user complies with the "own use" rules in schedule 2 of the regulations.

The own use rules state, for example, that the compound or product must not be sold, and it must be "fit for purpose".

Users must have a good understanding of the compound or product. They also need to ensure it remains fit for purpose when used. For example, it must be stored according to instructions on the label.

The compound must only be used by someone who is sure they are complying with the regulations.

Check if your product is exempt

Checking whether an agricultural compound is exempt from registration is called a "class determination". You can do a class determination using our guidelines.

Products regulated under the ACVM Act guideline [PDF, 465 KB]

If you aren't sure, MPI can do a class determination for you. We aim to complete class determinations within 15 working days. MPI charges a fee for this service.

Find out more about class determinations

Last reviewed: