New Zealand's natural advantages
The extensive pasture-based nature of New Zealand farming systems, the temperate climate, and the freedom from many of the world’s animal diseases give New Zealand some natural advantages. These include a relatively low use of most veterinary medicines and agricultural compounds.
Food safety monitoring
The following are the main monitoring programmes under the Animal Products Act (APA):
National Microbiological Database (NMD)
Microbiological data is collected in the NMD and analysed to ensure meat and poultry for sale in New Zealand or overseas is free of organisms that might make it unsafe.
National Chemical Residues Programme (NCRP)
The NCRP tests cattle, sheep, goats, deer, horses, pigs, ostrich, wild animals, poultry, salmon, and honey for a wide range of agricultural compounds and contaminants.
National Chemical Contaminants Programme (NCCP)
The NCCP tests for a wide range of agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines in dairy products and milk.
The programmes for seafood include the Shellfish Biotoxin Monitoring Programme, which tests mainly for algal toxins in bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS), and testing under the NCRP for finfish.
Independent verification programme
The independent verification programme (IVP) for dairy products involves verifying the accuracy of commercial testing.
Risk management controls
The APA establishes a risk management system that requires all animal products traded and used to be fit for their intended purpose. The risk management system includes the following types of controls:
Risk management programmes (RMPs)
Many businesses regulated under the APA are required to operate under an RMP. These are individually designed and implemented by operators. They are evaluated and verified, usually annually, by individuals or agencies recognised by MPI for this task.
Regulated control schemes (RCSs)
These schemes are provided to manage risks on a national basis when processor-based RMPs would not be feasible, practicable, efficient, or economical. RCSs concerned with monitoring are Contaminant Monitoring and Surveillance, Verification of Contaminants in Bee Products, Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish, and Hormonal Growth Promotants.
The APA provides for regulations and specifications (including manuals) to expand on or clarify requirements under the Act.
MPI issues export requirements for food safety that are either generic or market-specific, and monitors compliance with those requirements.
Other controls – registration and penalties
Under the APA, many types of businesses handling animal products are required to register. These include:
- slaughter and processing operations
- cutting, packing, and dressing operations
- byproduct premises
- export cold stores.
If operators send animals for slaughter that contain residues exceeding maximum permissible levels, penalties or restrictions can be imposed on them under the APA.