Primary poultry processing (slaughter and dressing) food safety

These are the food safety requirements for primary poultry processors – those who slaughter and dress poultry.

Food safety requirements for primary poultry processors

If you slaughter and dress poultry (primary processing) you must:

  • operate under a registered risk management programme (RMP)
  • comply with the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for products intended for human consumption 2020 (including when building or altering your premises)
  • carry out ante- and post-mortem examination of your birds
  • carry out sampling for Campylobacter and Salmonella during processing of meat chickens, in accordance with the National Microbiological Database (NMD) programme
  • arrange regular verification visits.

Food Standards Code requirements

You must also comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products has requirements for the poultry industry. You'll also need to comply with the general food standards in Chapter 1.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

RMPs for poultry primary processors

Your risk management programme (RMP) could be based on the poultry processing code of practice or operational code.

Code of Practice: Processing of poultry – Part 1: Overview

Operational Code: Processing of poultry – Part 2: Good operating practice

Find out more about RMPs

Risk management programmes for poultry food safety

A verifier will regularly visit your business to check you are following your RMP. Only the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is recognised to do this for the poultry sector.

Getting your RMP verified

Other rules poultry primary processors must follow

Besides RMPs, you need to follow other food safety requirements if you are a primary processor of poultry or poultry products. They are requirements under the Animal Products Act 1999.

Human consumption specifications

If you process food for human consumption, you must meet requirements that apply in the notice.

Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Requirements for pet food and animal feed

If you make pet food or animal feed, extra requirements apply to your business.

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

Ante-mortem and post-mortem examination requirements

If you're processing poultry for human or animal consumption, you must also meet the minimum requirements in the ante- and post-mortem examination notice. This covers examination of your birds for diseases and defects before and after slaughter.

Animal Products Notice: Specifications for the Ante-mortem and Post-mortem Examination of Poultry Intended for Human or Animal Consumption [PDF, 320 KB]

National Microbiological Database programme

If you're a primary processor of poultry, you must participate in the National Microbiological Database (NMD) testing programme and provide the results to the NMD.

National Microbiological Database (NMD) programme

Who to contact

If you have questions about food safety in poultry processing, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: