Government considering changes to organic products law
The Organic Products Bill began going through Parliament in 2020. If accepted, it will help with developing new standards for organic products. It would set requirements for most businesses involved in the organic sector, from production through to sale.
Find out about the changes and related consultation
What "organic" means
Organic food is produced without using:
- most synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
- some medicines (like antibiotics)
- growth hormones
- food additives
- most synthetic chemicals.
Organic food also can not be genetically modified or irradiated.
Food and products sold as organic need to be certified. This assures buyers that they've been made in an organic way.
Requirements for organic products
Your requirements will depend on your organics business activity and whether you are:
You'll also need to check the general requirements for the type of food you're working with. All food, organic or not, needs to meet general food safety requirements.
Find out about the requirements for the type of food you're working with
Selling organics in New Zealand
To sell products labelled as organic in New Zealand, you must:
- comply with the Fair Trading Act 1986 in respect to using the term "organic" in labelling and marketing claims
- meet the specific requirements for your type of food product (for example, dairy).
Fair Trading Act 1986 requirements for claiming products as organic
If your product is organic, you can say this on the label. Marketing claims and using the term "organic" on food labels is controlled through the Fair Trading Act 1986. This means that:
- representations about food must be truthful and accurate, and they must not mislead consumers
- you must be able to demonstrate that products labelled as "organic" are produced organically
- if you claim that your products are "certified organic", you must be able to back this claim up with a certificate.
Use of the term "organic" under the Fair Trading Act 1986 is enforced by the Commerce Commission.
Making accurate claims – Commerce Commission
Exporting organic products
To export organic products, you must:
- meet the specific requirements for your type of food product (for example, dairy)
- meet Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP) requirements if exporting under the OOAP
- meet market access requirements of the country being exported to, where not covered under the OOAP.
Find out more about exporting organics and the OOAP requirements
Importing organic products
All imported organic products need to:
- meet the standard New Zealand legal requirements for imported food
- meet the specific requirements for the type of food product (for example, dairy).
Find out more about importing organics
Getting certified as organic
You can choose to have your food or products certified as organic. This means that:
- you've followed a set of standards, and
- a certifying organisation has verified this.
Organic certifiers and organisations that can verify your products
Check the labelling requirements for your food type. Food labels must comply with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code.
Who to contact
If you have questions about the information on this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org