Manufacturing pet food, animal feed, and supplements

The requirements for manufacturers depend on the type of processor and the raw materials used.

Meet ONC requirements

All manufacturers of pet food, animal feed, and dietary supplements must meet the requirements for oral nutritional compounds (ONCs).

Your products are exempt from registration, but you must comply with ONC requirements. These are set out in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011.

ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011

You must make sure:

  • your product is fit for purpose (Regulation 7)
  • you have a documented system for manufacturing, follow the system, and keep adequate records (Regulations 9 and 14)
  • specified information is on the product label (Regulation 12)
  • you don't make misleading statements about it, particularly therapeutic claims (Regulation 13)
  • you meet the specific requirements for ONCs (Schedule 2, Part B, entry 22).

If your animal feed or dietary supplement contains animal material, you might already have a risk management programme (RMP) under the Animal Products (APA) Act 1999. You may use your RMP for your documented system for manufacturing – if it covers the other ONC requirements.

Find out more about ACVM requirements

When pet food is not pet food

A pet food could be classified as a veterinary medicine if you:

  • make claims about your product that aren't just nutritional claims (for example, "this product can help manage arthritis")
  • include levels of nutrients above those necessary for the maintenance of health
  • include substances that aren't nutrients or feed additives (such as flavours and preservatives).

At a minimum, you'll have to prove any claims. Your product might require registration.

Learn about requirements for veterinary medicines

Primary pet food processors

Pet food manufacturers who slaughter and dress animals (primary pet food processors) also need to comply with the APA. As part of this, you'll need to operate under an RMP.

You'll need to meet requirements in the Animal Products Regulations and the Animal Consumption Specifications.

Check the requirements for manufacturing pet food:

Operating under a registered RMP

Read the pet food operational code for guidance on meeting requirements. Slaughtered animals must have a post-mortem examination to make sure they're suitable for pet food. Post-mortem tables set out how this must be done.

Operational Code Pet Food Processing [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Domestic pet food farmed mammal post-mortem examination procedure tables [XLSX, 29 KB]

Domestic pet food farmed mammal post-mortem disposition table [XLSX, 59 KB]

Find out more about risk management programmes

Secondary pet food processors

If you don't slaughter or dress animals, you're known as a secondary pet food processor.

Your legal requirements depend on whether you are a:

  • manufacturer producing pet food requiring official assurances, such as for products for export
  • manufacturer producing pet food containing animal material such as red meat, offal, poultry, or fish resulting from the death of an animal (a "further pet food processor")
  • secondary pet food processor who doesn't use animal products (except meat and bone meal) in your pet food.

ACVM export certification

There are no ACVM legal requirements for export-only ONCs, but you must keep them separate from products to be sold in New Zealand.

If you want to export ONCs, you may need to meet certification requirements for the importing country. Find out about these requirements:

Producers requiring official assurances

If you require official New Zealand assurances, you need to meet requirements under the ACVM and APA Acts, and operate under a registered RMP.

Learn more about official assurances:

There may be additional overseas market access requirements (OMARs) depending on which country you are exporting to.

Find overseas market access requirements

Further (pet food) processors

As well as the ACVM Act, you are required under the APA to:

  • comply with relevant parts of the Animal Consumption Specifications (unless exempt)
  • only get animal material from regulated sources
  • have a documented tracking system to show you meet requirements.

Animal Products (Specifications for Products Intended for Animal Consumption) Notice 2017 [PDF, 1 MB]

A template and guidance are available to help you develop a documented tracking system:

You're also required to provide MPI with details of your processing operations by completing this form:

Other secondary pet food processors

If you don't use any animal products (aside from the options listed below) to manufacture pet food, you will not have to operate under the APA. You will still need to meet ACVM Act requirements.

Animal products not considered to require operation under the APA when used in the secondary processing of pet food are:

  • raw meat, poultry, or fish bought in a ready-for-sale form from a regulated source (for example, meat bought from a retail butcher or supermarket)
  • rendered or manufactured animal product.
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