Growing, producing, and selling organics in New Zealand
Government considering new organics laws
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, from production through to sale.
The purpose of the bill is to:
- increase consumer confidence in buying products labelled "organic"
- increase certainty for businesses claiming products as organic
- facilitate international trade in organic products.
Find out more
Cabinet paper [PDF, 1.2 MB]
Cabinet discussion document [PDF, 757 KB]
Regulatory impact assessment [PDF, 315 KB]
Public consultation to begin in 2021
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be running a public consultation in the first half of 2021 to hear your views on the draft organics regulations. Subscribe to 'primary production' consultations to be notified by email when the consultation begins.
Requirements for selling organics
If you sell products labelled as organic in New Zealand, you need to:
- meet the standard regulatory requirements for the type of product (for example, dairy, honey, or meat)
- comply with the Fair Trading Act 1986 with respect to using the term 'organic' in labelling and marketing claims.
Note that MPI does not administer organic standards for products sold in New Zealand. Further information about each of these requirements is provided below.
Standard regulatory requirements
You must meet the regulatory requirements for your type of product (for example, seafood, wine, or dairy). These requirements apply to all foods and food products sold in New Zealand, whether they are organic or not. They are required to be produced in accordance with appropriate New Zealand legislation, such as the following:
- Animal Products Act 1999
- Wine Act 2003
- Food Act 2014
- Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997.
All food sold in New Zealand must be labelled with certain kinds of information. Food labels must comply with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code, which MPI administers in New Zealand.
To understand the specific regulatory requirements for processing your product type, refer to the appropriate food sector:
Complying with the Fair Trading Act 1986
Marketing products as organic
If your product is organic, you may say this on the label. In New Zealand, marketing claims and use of 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 a consumer
- 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.
Usage of the term 'organic' under the Fair Trading Act 1986 is enforced by the Commerce Commission.
Certifying as an organic producer
You may choose to have your production processes certified as organic. Organic certification means that you have met a set of standards and that your compliance has been verified by a certifying organisation.