Defining pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

Find out about how we define oral nutritional compounds. These include pet foods, and animal feeds, and nutritional supplements.

What are oral nutritional compounds?

Oral nutritional compounds (ONCs) are a type of agricultural compound. They're defined in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) regulations as:

  • animal feed
  • nutritional supplements for animals.

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 – NZ Legislation

Animal feed

Under the ACVM Act "animal feed" covers everything fed to animals, including:

  • pet food
  • milled grain-based feed
  • "feed commodities" such as silage and hay.

The Animal Products Act (APA) 1999 defines pet food as "animal product intended for consumption by cats or dogs".

Animal feeds that contain animal products are subject to both Acts (APA and ACVM) as well as the ACVM Regulations.

Animal Products Act 1999

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 – NZ Legislation

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 – NZ Legislation

Nutritional supplements

Nutritional supplements are mixtures that are either added to animal feed or fed directly to animals. These provide extra nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Feed additives

ONCs may contain feed additives. These are non-nutrient ingredients, like preservatives and flavourings. These are added to feed to improve its quality, taste, or nutritive value. If a feed additive has directions to be fed directly to animals for a nutritional benefit, it becomes an ONC.

Find out whether your product is an ONC

If you're not sure whether your product is an ONC, a class determination can tell you the status of your product under the ACVM Act.

Class determinations under the ACVM Act

Find out more

What is an ACVM?

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

ACVM Notice: Imported Feed Commodities [PDF, 264 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: