Introduction to meat processing

Find out what meat processing covers, and what requirements you must follow if you process, sell, or import meat products in New Zealand.

What type of meat processor are you?

Use these definitions to help you identify which type of meat processor or retailer you are. Each definition directs you to the requirements you need to follow.

Note: Information about the requirements for homekill businesses, commercial hunters, and certified wild food or game suppliers can be found in this section:

Homekill, hunting, game and wild meat requirements

Primary meat processor

You're a primary meat processor if you:

  • slaughter and dress mammals or birds (emus or ostriches)
  • remove, extract, or harvest animal material from live mammals or birds for the purpose of human or animal consumption.

Find out about the requirements for primary meat processors

If you process poultry or pet food, you're not considered to be a primary meat processor.

Find out about poultry processing

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

Secondary meat processor

You're a secondary meat processor if you process animal products at any stage beyond primary processing (slaughter and dressing).

Examples of secondary meat processors include:

  • retail butchers
  • smallgoods (for example, bacon, ham, salami, sausages, luncheon sausage) processors.

Secondary meat processors must comply with the Food Act 2014.

Find out which food safety rules you need to follow

Animal material depot

You operate an animal material depot if you temporarily hold animal material prior to it being transferred to a primary processor who will process it for human consumption.

Find out about the requirements for animal material depots

Dual operator butchers

You're a dual operator if you:

  • operate a retail butchery that processes or sells regulated animal products, and
  • process homekill or recreational catch at the same premises or place as your retail butchery.

Find out about the requirements for dual operator butchers

Requirements if you sell meat in New Zealand

If you sell meat and meat products in New Zealand (for example, from a butcher's shop or market stall), you need to meet the requirements of both the Food Act 2014 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Our Food safety rules online tool can help you find out which requirements apply to your business:

Food safety rules

Find out more

Introduction to the Food Act 2014

Food Standards Code – Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Dual operator butchers selling meat at a market stall

If you're a dual operator butcher who operates under the Animal Products Act, and you sell meat at a stall, you'll also need to complete Attachment W – Meat at stalls and add it to your RMP:

Risk management programme template for dual operator butchers: Attachment W – Meat at stalls [PDF, 284 KB]

Requirements if you import or export meat

If you import meat products into New Zealand for sale or processing, you'll need to meet requirements under the Food Act 2014.

Find out about importing meat

If you export meat products, you'll need to meet general export requirements, plus any overseas market access requirements (OMARs) that apply.

Find out about exporting meat

Residue monitoring requirements

Depending on your business, you may need to participate in the residues monitoring programme, which tests for contaminants in meat (under a Regulated Control Scheme).

For more information on who must participate in the residues monitoring programme, see Part 1 of these regulations:

Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Contaminant Monitoring and Surveillance) Regulations 2004 – NZ Legislation

Guidance if you make food for animals

If you make any food for animals, this guide can help you to identify which Act or Acts apply to your operation:

Making food for animals [PDF, 267 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about meat and game processing, email

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