Sampling and testing of food

Under the food safety regulatory model, sampling and testing for monitoring programmes is undertaken by recognised individuals and agencies.

Testing regimes and sampling plans

Each monitoring programme has specific testing regimes and sampling plans that may apply to a specific processing operation. Note that some plans need to remain confidential to MPI and the samplers.

General controls and practices

The types of compounds included in the monitoring programmes and the number of samples to be analysed are relevant to New Zealand food production and overseas market access requirements (OMARs). Controls, verification, audits, and enforcement practices are guided by these considerations.

The relevant controls and practices ensuring that residues and contaminants, parasites, and microbiological hazards in food do not breach the regulatory thresholds include the following:

  • effective border controls on imported chemicals
  • an agricultural compound and veterinary medicine registration system based on international standards and requirements that meets producers' needs – this eliminates any possible motivation to use non-assessed products or apply assessed products in a non-assessed manner
  • restricted distribution, through the veterinary profession, of certain categories of veterinary medicines
  • farming systems that require minimal chemical input, and export-focused suppliers of high-quality products
  • industry codes of practice and training for workers who handle and use chemicals
  • continuing education of all those involved in food production.

Testing in laboratories

All regulatory testing of food is undertaken by MPI-approved laboratories. They use approved methods that have been validated according to international protocols that have been approved as suitable for the intended purpose. Laboratories are required to report accurate results.

Find more information about approved laboratories and about persons and agencies recognised to undertake sampling:

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