Introduction to dairy manufacturing requirements

An overview of the requirements and legislation that apply when you make dairy products.

Manufacturing for sale on the domestic market

If you make dairy products for sale in New Zealand or Australia (the domestic market), you must meet the requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999 (APA).

This means you must have:

  • a food control plan (FCP), or
  • a risk management programme (RMP).

Find out about choosing the right food safety programme for your dairy business

Exemptions from operating under the APA

If you make dairy products that will be consumed on site, you may be exempt from operating under the APA. For example, if you make ice cream in your restaurant kitchen and serve it to customers in the restaurant, then you're exempt.

Clause 7A of the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order has more information about how this works.

Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Order 2000

Manufacturing for export

If you make dairy products that will be exported, you must operate under a registered RMP. As well as meeting the requirements for products made for the New Zealand and Australian markets, you'll also need to meet some export-related requirements.

Find out more about exporting dairy

Requirements if you milk animals and manufacture dairy products

If you milk animals and also manufacture dairy products, any products you sell must be made using milk that has been harvested under an RMP.

You can either have an:

  • RMP that covers both your milking and manufacturing operations, or
  • RMP for your milking operation and an FCP for your manufacturing operation.

Note: The second option is likely to cost more, as it will involve more than one verification.

Manufacturing specific or specialist dairy products

There are specific food safety requirements if you make:

  • dairy products such as yoghurt, ice cream, cheese or liquid milk, or
  • products from raw (unpasteurised) milk.

Find out about the requirements for manufacturing yoghurt, ice cream, cheese, liquid milk, and raw milk products

Selling raw drinking milk

Farmers, depot operators, and people transporting raw drinking milk must meet certain requirements to minimise risks to public health.

Find out about selling raw drinking milk to consumers

Dairy testing requirements

Dairy products (including raw drinking milk) are tested to prove they conform with regulations and domestic and overseas food safety requirements.

This testing must be done by a recognised laboratory.

Find out more about the Recognised Laboratory Programme

Manufacturing dairy products for animals

Dairy products for animal consumption have the same requirements as dairy products for human consumption. There are very few dedicated animal feed processors, so the production standards to follow are similar or the same.

Find out about pet food, animal feed, and nutritional supplements

Legislation that applies to dairy manufacturing

Animal Products Act 1999

Animal Products (Dairy) Regulations 2005

Dairy legislation roadmap [PDF, 995 KB]

Find other documents to help you meet requirements

Documents on these web pages will help you meet the requirements for your dairy manufacturing business:

Approved criteria, codes of practice, and guidance for dairy

Notices and standards under dairy legislation

Guidance and forms for dairy processors

Reports and documents about food safety for the dairy industry

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Who to contact

If you need to contact MPI for advice about the specific requirements for your dairy operation, email

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