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.
Roadmap dairy legislation [PDF, 991 KB]
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). This RMP sets 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.
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.
MPI has developed RMP templates for some products. Using a template can help you make sure you meet all the requirements for products you’re intending to sell on the domestic market.
Our Introduction to dairy manufacturing webpage includes 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.
Importing dairy products
If you import dairy products, you need to know about the general requirements for importers.
There are specific requirements for importing raw milk products.
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.
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.
Principally dairy determination
If you manufacture, process, or sell products that contain dairy, this procedure and form will help you determine whether a multi-ingredient food is considered to be a dairy product under New Zealand Standards. This includes products such as tablets, supplements, and fortified foods that contain dairy ingredients.
Procedure for principally dairy determination [PDF, 408 KB]
Principally dairy determination form [PDF, 525 KB]
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.