1. Meet New Zealand requirements
The first step to exporting pet food is to ensure it meets New Zealand requirements.
Meeting the requirements
Pet food is defined as food for cats and dogs. If you want to export food for other types of animals, see:
Pet food that contains animal products must meet the requirements of the:
- Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997
- Animal Products Act 1999 (if the pet food has any animal products in it)
- destination you're exporting to.
Pet food that does not contain animal products must meet the requirements of the:
Requirements of the ACVM Act 1997
Pet food requirements under the ACVM Act are outlined here:
Requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999
Under the Animal Products Act 1999:
- primary processing (slaughter and butchery) of any meat must be done by a processor with a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP)
- secondary processing, for example making mince or dog rolls, must be done either under an RMP or for certain processes by a further petfood processor, depending on whether or not you need an export certificate.
- If the country you are exporting to requires an official assurance or export certificate, all operators involved in the production of the pet food (including storage and transport operators) need to operate under an RMP.
- If you don't need official assurance, it might be possible to export pet food produced by a further pet food processor.
- If you need more information on petfood processing, refer to:
Risk Management Programmes
RMPs help you manage hazards, ensure your pet food is fit for purpose, and meet legal requirements. If at any point the pet food is processed outside of a registered RMP, you can't get an official assurance and your pet food will lose its eligibility for export.
Verify your RMP
After developing and registering your programme, you must get it verified regularly by an MPI recognised verification agency.
Further petfood processors
Further petfood processors must meet the requirements of the ACVM Act, and under the APA must:
- comply with relevant parts of the Animal Consumption Specifications (unless exempt)
- only get animal material from regulated sources
- have a documented tracking system to show you meet requirements.
Making claims about your pet food
If you make claims about your product that aren't just nutritional claims (for example, 'this product can help manage arthritis'), it could be classified as a veterinary medicine. It might require registration. At a minimum, you'll have to prove the claims.
- Animal Products Act 1999 on the NZ Legislation website
- Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Animal Consumption 2017 [PDF, 579 KB]
- Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 on the NZ Legislation website
- Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 on the NZ Legislation website
If you need help with a pet food export, contact MPI's exporter help team.
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