Meat and game processing

If you hunt, catch, supply, farm, or process meat for sale in New Zealand or for export, you need to meet food safety requirements specific to the activities you undertake.

Requirements for meat and game

If you work in the meat industry, the legal requirements you need to meet depend on the kind of business you're in. The majority of operators need to meet requirements under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. 

View a summary of meat-related legislation:

Requirements under the APA apply to

  • primary processors – who operate under a Risk Management Programme (RMP)
  • animal material depots – which must be registered and undergo verification
  • dual operator butchers – who operate under a Risk Management Programme (RMP) and who can use a Code of Practice (COP)
  • suppliers of homekill or wild or game estate animals to primary processors – who must have certification
  • farmers and veterinarians using hormone growth promotants (HGPs) – who comply with a Regulated Control Scheme (RCS)
  • exporters – who export meat products to countries that require official assurances (export certificates).

Food safety requirements

Some operators may need to meet food safety requirements under the Food Act. These include

  • secondary processors
  • people who sell meat at stalls
  • exporters who export beef to Australia or meat products to countries that do not require official assurances.

If you operate under the Food Act, you generally need to develop a Food Control Plan (FCP). You must also meet requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code ("the Code").

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act.

More on requirements

There are specific requirements for different meat-related activities. Find out more about the requirements that apply to you.

Processing and selling meat products in NZ

The requirements for primary and secondary processors, animal material depots, dual operator butchers and people selling meat at stalls are different. Using definitions of each, find out what applies to you.

Exporting meat products

If you export meat products, they need to meet New Zealand food safety standards and comply with the requirements of overseas customers.

Homekill, hunting, game, and wild foods

Find out about certification, listing, and the records you need to keep if you supply homekilled or wild meat to a primary processor.

Animal Status Declarations 

If you send animals for processing or move them between properties or to saleyards, you are required to complete an Animal Status Declaration (ASD).

Using hormonal growth promotants

Find out about the use of HGPs in New Zealand and about the Regulated Control Scheme (RCS) that farmers and veterinarians using HGPs must comply with.

Maintenance and cleaning products

If you process non-dairy animal product or material for human or animal consumption, you must meet requirements for using approved maintenance compounds.

Meat industry organisations

If you need further information, it may help to contact one of the organisations that support and advocate for the New Zealand meat industry.

Keep up to date

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


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