Getting started in dairy

If you harvest, manufacture, import, store, or transport dairy products, you need to meet legal requirements to ensure the products are safe for consumption and suitable for their intended use.

The requirements depend on whether you are milking animals, manufacturing dairy products or storing and transporting dairy products, and whether these activities are for the New Zealand market or for export.

In general, dairy operations must meet the requirements of the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. Regulations, notices and specifications explain the Act’s requirements.

Find out which legal requirements apply to your business:

Harvesting milk                                                              

If you want to milk animals and either sell the milk to a dairy processor or make dairy products that you will sell, you must operate under a registered risk management programme (RMP) setting out the procedures for operating your business.

If you want to sell the milk from your animals directly to consumers for consumption as raw (unpasteurised) milk, you have to register under the Regulated Control Scheme (RCS). You do not need an RMP if this is the only use of the milk from your animals.

Find out about the requirements for harvesting milk:

Manufacturing dairy products

If you intend to manufacture dairy products for export, you need to have a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP).

If you manufacture dairy products for sale in New Zealand or Australia – the domestic market – then you must meet the requirements of the APA. This means you must have a food control plan (FCP) or an RMP.

Find out which plan is best for your operation:

Get information about FCPs and RMPs for dairy manufacturing:

MPI has developed RMP templates for some products. Using an RMP template can help you make sure you meet all the requirements for products you’re intending to sell on the domestic market:

Find out more about the requirements for manufacturing dairy products and meeting food safety requirements:

Selling dairy products

If you sell dairy products in New Zealand made by a registered dairy manufacturer, you need to meet the same requirements as other food retailers.

Find out about the requirements for sellers of dairy products:

Importing dairy products

If you import dairy products, you need to know about the general requirements for importers.

Find out about importing dairy products:

There are specific requirements for importing raw milk products. Learn more about the requirements:

Transporting and storing dairy products

The requirements for transporting or storing dairy products depend on whether the product is intended for export or for sale in Australia and New Zealand.

Find out more about the requirements for storing and transporting dairy products:

Exporting dairy products

If you’re an exporter, you must meet general requirements such as registration, and the dairy products you export must be manufactured under a registered RMP. If you’re exporting only to Australia, you can manufacture under a registered FCP.

Get an overview of the exporting requirements for dairy products:

Keep up to date

It’s important to keep up with any new or revised dairy information, including requirements, consultations, policies and other content changes.


Last reviewed: