Requirements for pet food, animal feed, and supplements

If you import, manufacture, sell, or use oral nutritional compounds (ONCs), your products must meet the requirements for agricultural compounds.

Authorisation of your product

ONC products – whether pet food, animal feed, or a dietary supplement – are classed as agricultural compounds. If you want to import, manufacture, sell, or use an agricultural compound in New Zealand, it must be authorised. ONCs will normally be authorised via an exemption from registration (under regulations).

ONCs must comply with the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. Authorisation is a requirement under the ACVM Act.

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997 – NZ Legislation

Exemption from registration

An exemption permits you to import, manufacture, sell, or use an agricultural compound without registration. But you must meet the conditions of the exemption and comply with all applicable regulations.

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

Conditions on exemption

If your animal feed or dietary supplement is exempt from registration you must comply with the regulations and the specific conditions on your exemption.

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

If you manufacture feed for animals other than cats and dogs (such as pigs), or feed that doesn't contain animal product, you will need to meet the requirements for ONCs in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011.

ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances Regulations 2011)

When the exemption does not apply

Your ONC is not 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")
  • has an unregistered veterinary medicine in a medicated feed
  • contains a registered veterinary medicine and the inclusion is not consistent with the conditions of the veterinary medicine’s registration.

In these cases, your product becomes a veterinary medicine and will probably require registration.

Find out about registering a veterinary medicine

Check if your product is exempt

If you're unsure of your product's status under the ACVM Act, a class determination will tell you.

Find out about class determinations

Other requirements

ONCs 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 must also comply with APA requirements if it has animal product ingredients, as well as with biosecurity regulations.

There may be requirements under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) Act 1996.

Check the legislation

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 – NZ Legislation

Biosecurity Act 1993 – NZ Legislation

Animal Products Act (APA) 1999 – NZ Legislation

Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999

Last reviewed: