Primary meat processing (slaughter and butchery) requirements

If you slaughter or butcher animals or birds (known as primary processing) for the New Zealand market, here's how to make sure you're following the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999.

Defining primary meat processors

For meat products, you are considered to be a primary processor if you do one of the following:

  • slaughter and dress mammals or birds
  • remove, extract, or harvest animal material from live mammals or birds for the purpose of human or animal consumption.

Note: If you are a hunter, or if you process poultry or pet food, you are not considered to be a primary meat processor. Find out more:

Complying with the Animal Products Act

The APA regime for primary meat processing includes the APA 1999 and the relevant regulations, specifications, and notices made under the Act.

Some requirements relate to a wide range of animal products. These include fees, charges, and levies under the APA and under monitoring and surveillance programmes. Find out more about these requirements:

Operating under a risk management programme (RMP)

As part of the APA regime, primary meat processors need to operate under an RMP. You can find guidance to help you meet the requirements in the Meat manuals, but you need to refer to the APA legislation to confirm the requirements.

Find all the general information you need to know about Risk Management Programmes:

Micro Abattoirs

A micro abattoir is a business involved in the slaughter and dressing of farmed animals for human consumption. These businesses will have a low throughput and limited scope of operations (for example, farmed mammals, ostriches, and emus).

An RMP (Risk Management Programme) Template for Micro Abattoirs has been developed to provide operators with a simple way to meet applicable regulatory requirements under the Animal Products Act 1999. An RMP is a written programme designed to manage the hazards, wholesomeness, and labelling of animal material and products.

We’ve also prepared a guidance document – it explains how to use the RMP Template for Micro Abattoirs.

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