Requirements for pet food, animal feed, and supplements

If you import, manufacture, sell, or use oral nutritional compounds (ONCs), your products must meet the requirements for agricultural compounds.

Authorisation of your product 

Your ONC product – whether pet food, animal feed, or a dietary supplement – is classed as an agricultural compound. If you want to import, manufacture, sell, or use an agricultural compound in New Zealand, it must be authorised. Your ONC will normally be authorised via an exemption from registration (under regulations).

ONCs must comply with the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. Authorisation is a requirement under the ACVM Act.

Exemption from registration

An exemption permits you to import, manufacture, sell, or use an agricultural compound without registration. But you must meet the conditions of the exemption and comply with all applicable regulations. 

Exemptions are made by product type or group. Exemptions apply to those groups that pose very little risk if the products are manufactured and used properly, such as animal feed. Exemption conditions minimise the risk.

Conditions on exemption

If your animal feed or dietary supplement is exempt from registration, you must comply with the regulations and the specific conditions on your exemption.

Find out more about the requirements based on what you are doing: 

If you manufacture feed for animals other than cats and dogs (such as pigs), or feed that doesn't contain animal product, you will need to meet the requirements for ONCs in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011.

Substances generally recognised as safe (GRAS)

MPI has a list of substances that can be used as feed additives because they are 'generally recognised as safe' (GRAS) when used for that purpose. As part of your obligations under the ACVM regulations, you must confirm that any feed additive in your product is GRAS.

Search the GRAS register or apply to include a substance:

When the exemption does not apply

Your ONC is not exempt from registration if it has:

  • therapeutic or pharmacological claims (such as 'this product treats arthritis')
  • a feed additive that is not listed as 'generally recognised as safe' (GRAS)
  • unregistered veterinary medicine in a medicated feed
  • registered veterinary medicine in a medicated feed that doesn't comply with the approved labelling or use for that medicine.

In these cases, your product becomes a veterinary medicine and will probably require registration.

Check if your product is exempt

If you're unsure of your product’s status under the ACVM Act, a class determination will tell you.

Other requirements

ONCs may also have to comply with other legislation:

  • Pet food (for dogs and cats) has additional requirements under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. 
  • Animal feed must also comply with APA requirements if it has animal product ingredients, as well as with biosecurity regulations.
  • There may be requirements under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) Act 1996.

Check the legislation

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