National Microbiological Database programme

The National Microbiological Database (NMD) provides for a monitoring programme done by red meat and poultry operators and is overseen by MPI.

What is the National Microbiological Database (NMD)?

The programme requires industry to test animal product samples, including from:

  • cattle (including bobby calves and other bovine animals)
  • goats
  • deer
  • ratites (such as emus and ostriches)
  • sheep
  • pigs
  • poultry.

Check the requirements for participating in the NMD:

National Microbiological Database programme requirements

How the NMD programme works

The NMD Programme is a standardised microbiological sampling and testing programme to provide ongoing monitoring of microbiological process control across all industry participants.

Under the NMD, red meat and poultry operators must:

  • ensure red meat and poultry samples are taken as specified
  • engage a laboratory to test the samples collected for microbiological risks;
  • review microbiological test results to ensure they comply with microbiological targets and take appropriate actions to manage risks;
  • report the test results to MPI; and
  • work with MPI to resolve any compliance issues.

The NMD provides for training and certification relating to sample collection and testing procedures for laboratories to ensure appropriate microbiological testing is undertaken and accurate results are produced.

The NMD also establishes performance targets that minimise microbiological risks in production to ensure food produced by the red meat and poultry industries is fit for its intended purpose.

What the NMD tests for

The monitoring programme measures microorganisms that are a risk to food safety. The programme will tell the operator if their current processes are producing food that is safe to eat.

What happens to samples?

All samples are tested at recognised laboratories that have ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. Laboratories are accredited under the MPI Recognised Laboratory Programme (RLP).

Find out about the MPI Recognised Laboratory Programme

The sampling and testing are standardised so results can be compared between processors.

NMD research

Read about the work that the NMD contributes to:

A baseline survey of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from selected New Zealand foods, 2009 - 2010 [PDF, 427 KB]

Review of porcine carcass salmonella testing [PDF, 63 KB]

Campylobacter risk management

Who to contact

If you have questions about the NMD, email

Last reviewed: