Introduction to bivalve molluscan shellfish growing, harvesting, processing, and operating

There are food safety requirements you need to meet if you grow, harvest, or process bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS), or are a BMS operator.

BMS for human consumption

The food safety rules that apply to BMS for human consumption depend on if you:

  • grow or harvest BMS
  • process BMS
  • store BMS
  • transport BMS.

The requirements apply if you work with BMS:

  • from marine farms
  • from land-based fish farms
  • that you harvested from the wild.

The rules you need to follow come from the following legislation:

Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish) Regulations 2006 – NZ Legislation

Animal Products Notice: Regulated Control Scheme – Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish for Human Consumption [PDF, 874 KB]

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

Animal Products Act 1999 – NZ Legislation

Check other rules that may apply to you

Make sure you also check the general requirements for your activity or food sector.

General food safety requirements

Exporting seafood

Operating as a commercial fisher

Operating an aquaculture farm

Requirements for BMS growers and harvesters

There are food safety requirements to meet if you:

  • grow or harvest BMS commercially on a marine farm or land-based fish farm
  • harvest BMS from the wild for commercial purposes.

Requirements for BMS processors

BMS processing includes:

  • primary processing
  • secondary processing
  • land-based wet storage
  • depuration (cleansing or purification).

BMS processors must also operate in premises that have a registered risk management programme:

Find requirements for land-based seafood processing

Requirements for BMS operators

BMS operators include:

  • commercial harvest operators
  • relay operators
  • sorting shed operators
  • depot operators
  • wet storage operators
  • transport operators.

Who to contact

If you have questions about processing bivalve molluscan shellfish, email

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