Choosing the right food safety programme for your dairy business

Find out about food control plans (FCPs) and risk management programmes (RMPs) for the dairy industry, and which one your operation needs.

About FCPs and RMPs

Food control plans (FCPs) and risk management programmes (RMPs) are written documents, prepared by your business, that show how you meet your food safety requirements. They're made up of a set of procedures that describe:

  • how you have identified hazards associated with your processes
  • how you will control the hazards
  • the monitoring and record-keeping you will do, and
  • what you need to do if something goes wrong.

Choosing between an FCP and an RMP

Some dairy operators must have an RMP, while others can choose to have either an RMP or an FCP.

If you can choose, you might operate under an RMP because you:

  • intend to export your dairy products now or in the future
  • want one programme to cover both your milking and dairy manufacturing operations.

Or you might choose an FCP because you:

  • manufacture other products under your FCP, and
  • only sell your products in New Zealand and Australia (the domestic market).

Who needs an RMP?

In general, all primary processors of animal material and products for human or animal consumption must operate under an RMP. This includes:

  • farm dairy operators
  • dairy processors, including stores and transporters (unless covered by the Food Act 2014).

For the full list of processors needing an RMP, see Appendix C in the RMP manual.

Risk management programme manual [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Some dairy processors are exempt from having an RMP.

Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000

Who can use either an RMP or an FCP?

Dairy processors who can choose to have either an RMP or an FCP include:

  • processors of dairy products consumed on premises
  • processors of certain dairy products that are multi-ingredient foods.

For more information about dairy processors who don't need an RMP, see Appendix D and Appendix H in the RMP manual.

Risk management programme manual [PDF, 2.2 MB]

If you're unsure what plan or programme you need

If you're still not sure whether your business should operate under an FCP or an RMP, you can use our online tool to help you decide.

My food rules – online tool

Preparing your RMP or FCP

Once you've chosen an RMP or FCP, you need to prepare it, have it evaluated (if required), then submit it to us for registration. Once it's registered, you need to arrange to have it verified on an ongoing basis.

Find out more

Introduction to risk management programmes

Risk management programmes for farm dairies

Food control plans

Using codes of practice to help with your RMP

You may be able to use a code of practice (COP) to help you develop your RMP. These are industry-agreed procedures and templates that you can fill in.

The COPs for dairy operations cover:

  • raw milk products
  • heat treatment
  • design and operation of dairies
  • making ice cream
  • making specialist cheeses.

You don't have to use a COP, but if you don’t, you must have your RMP evaluated before you can submit it to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for registration.

Approved criteria, codes of practice, and guidance for dairy

Fees for registration, evaluation, and verification

We charge fees for registering an RMP or FCP. In addition, MPI-approved agencies also charge fees to carry out evaluations and verifications.

Fees and charges for dairy processors

Who to contact

If you have questions about FCPs and RMPs for dairy processors, email

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