Requirements for pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

Find out about the legal requirements that apply if you manufacture, sell, use, or import pet food, animal feed, or nutritional supplements.

Authorisation of your product

Pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements are classed as "oral nutritional compounds" (ONCs). ONCs are agricultural compounds so must comply with the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997.

Find out how we define ONCs (pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements)

If you want to manufacture, sell, use or import an agricultural compound in New Zealand, it must be authorised. This is required by the ACVM Act. ONCs are normally authorised via an exemption from registration, under regulations.

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

Exemption from registration

An exemption permits you to make, sell, use or import an agricultural compound without registration.

Exemptions are made by product type or group. They apply to groups that pose very little risk if the products are manufactured and used properly – such as animal feed. Exemption conditions minimise the risk.

To qualify for an exemption your ONC must:

  • fit one of the exemption categories
  • meet the conditions of the exemption
  • comply with all applicable regulations.

When exemption doesn't apply

Your ONC won't be exempt from registration if it:

  • contains levels of nutrients greater than those required to deliver a nutritional benefit
  • makes therapeutic or pharmacological claims (such as "this product treats arthritis"), or
  • has an unregistered veterinary medicine in a medicated feed.

Your ONC also won't be exempt from registration if it contains a registered veterinary medicine and:

  • the medicine's use is not consistent with the registration, or
  • the medicine is not mixed in a way to ensure even distribution or efficacy while being stored.

In any of the above cases, it's likely your product will need to be registered as a veterinary medicine.

Find out about veterinary medicine registration under the ACVM Act 1997

Check if your product is exempt

A class determination is advice the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can provide to help you determine if your product fits an exemption category and its conditions. Class determinations can also help facilitate importation at the border.

Find out about class determinations

Find out about the requirements that apply to you

Find out more about the requirements based on what you're doing:

Manufacturing pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

Selling pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

Using pet food, animal feed, and supplements

Importing pet food, animal feed, and supplements

Exporting pet food, animal feed, and supplements

Other requirements

Animal feeds and nutritional supplements may also have to comply with other legislation:

  • Pet food for dogs and cats has additional requirements under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999.
  • Animal feed that has animal product ingredients must comply with APA requirements, as well as with the Biosecurity Act and Regulations.

Animal Products Act 1999 – NZ Legislation

Biosecurity Act 1993 – NZ Legislation

Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999 – NZ Legislation

There may also be requirements under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) Act 1996.

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 – NZ Legislation

Who to contact

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

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