Secondary poultry processing (after slaughter and dressing) food safety

These are the food safety requirements for secondary poultry processors – those who prepare poultry after it is slaughtered and dressed.

What secondary poultry processors do

You're a secondary processor if you carry out processing and related activities beyond the slaughter and dressing of poultry. Your activities may include:

  • portioning ("cutting up")
  • deboning
  • marinating
  • forming
  • cooking
  • packaging ready-to-eat products.

Food safety requirements for secondary poultry processors

If you only do secondary processing, you must operate under either:

  • a registered food control plan (FCP), or
  • a registered risk management programme (RMP).

If you're a secondary processor exporting with an official assurance, you must have a registered RMP. You cannot operate under an FCP.

A food safety programme sets out how your business will manage food safety. It identifies risks and hazards, and shows how they're controlled or eliminated.

If you do primary and secondary processing

If you do primary (slaughter and dressing) and secondary processing, you must have either:

  • a registered RMP for your primary processing and a registered FCP for your secondary processing, or
  • a registered RMP to cover both.

There are several options to consider. If you're a primary processor you'll already have an RMP. If you want to do secondary processing as well, you can extend the scope of your RMP to cover both. This is usually simpler and cheaper than adding an FCP for the secondary processing and then operating under 2 programmes.

However, in some cases, operating your secondary processing activities under an FCP may be a better option for you. For example, you might already use an FCP for other food manufacturing, and have no plans to export your products.

Find out more

Food control plans

Risk management programmes

Code of practice

Whichever option you choose, you could base your procedures on the poultry processing code of practice.

Poultry processing code of practice (COP)

If you export poultry and need official assurance, find agreed standards on the page documents for exporting poultry meat

Evaluation of RMPs and FCPs

Evaluation checks that your RMP or FCP contains everything you need, and that you are likely to produce safe and suitable food if you follow it.


If you've chosen to use an RMP, you may need to get it independently evaluated. If you have used the COP as the basis for your RMP, you won't need to get it evaluated.

But if you have changed the COP, or written your own RMP, evaluation is required. You must hire an RMP evaluator to do this, and include their report with your application for registration.

Find an RMP evaluator

Find out more about risk management programmes for poultry food safety


There are 3 types of FCP – custom, template, and 'My food plan'.

A custom FCP requires evaluation. A template FCP and a 'My food plan' don't need evaluation.

If you choose to have a custom FCP, you must have it independently evaluated and include the evaluator's report with your application for registration.

Find an FCP evaluator

Find out more about food control plans


A verifier will regularly visit your business to check you are following your RMP or FCP. Some verification agencies can only check some types of plan or programme. Only the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is recognised to verify RMPs for the poultry sector.

Find a verifier

Getting your food business verified

Getting your RMP verified

Food Standards Code requirements

You must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. This always applies, no matter which option you operate under.

The code's requirements include:

  • making sure your ingredients are fit for use
  • declaring any allergens
  • packaging your products safely
  • labelling your products accurately and truthfully
  • calculating the shelf-life of your products, and dating them.

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

Packaging materials

You need to make sure the packaging you use doesn't cause food to become unsafe.

The poultry processing operational code has specific recommendations. These include packaging poultry in ways that prevent leaking of fluids, to avoid cross-contamination.

Operational Code: Processing of Poultry (Part 2): Good Operating Practice [PDF, 1.8 MB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about food safety in poultry processing, email

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