Poultry secondary processing (preparing and cooking) food safety

These are the food safety requirements for secondary poultry processors – those who prepare poultry after it is slaughtered and butchered, for example portioning (cutting up), deboning, marinading, forming or cooking.

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 ("cut-up")
  • deboning
  • value-adding (such as marinating)
  • forming
  • cooking
  • packaging ready-to-eat products ("value-adding").

Key legislation for secondary processors

If you're a secondary processor, you must comply with the Food Act and legislation made under the Act.

What secondary processors must do

As a secondary processor, you must operate under one of these scenarios:

  • an approved food control plan (FCP)
  • a registered risk management programme (RMP) if you're exporting with an official assurance
  • if you also do primary processing, an RMP for your primary processing and an FCP for your secondary processing or a registered RMP written to cover both primary and secondary processing.

If you're a secondary processor who also does primary processing, it may be best to operate under a risk management programme (RMP), which is usually simpler and cheaper. Find out which plan or programme suits your processing operation:

You must also comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the New Zealand Food Standards. This always applies, no matter which option you operate under. This means you need to:

  • make sure your ingredients are fit for use and declare any allergens
  • package your products safely
  • label your products accurately and truthfully
  • calculate the shelf-life of your products and date them.

Refer to the Code for more information. Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products is particularly relevant to the poultry industry. You'll also need to comply with the General Food Standards in chapter 1. Read about Standard 2.2.1 on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website:

Find out more about how to comply with the Food Standards:


To make sure you meet your legal requirements, you need to arrange regular audits by an independent verification agency. The verification agency you use will depend on which plan or programme you're operating under.

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