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.


Getting your product authorised

Oral nutritional compounds (ONCs) in New Zealand must meet the requirements of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. They may also have to comply with other legislation such as the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999, and the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Your ONC product – whether pet food, animal feed, or a dietary supplement – is classed as an agricultural compound under the ACVM Act. All agricultural compounds must be authorised, which is normally provided via an exemption from registration under regulations.

Exemption under regulations

An 'exemption under regulations' permits you to import, manufacture, sell, or use an agricultural compound without registration if you meet the conditions placed on the exemption. Conditions are placed on exemptions to minimise any risks. 

Exemptions are made by product type or group. Only groups that pose very little risk if the products are manufactured and used properly, such as animal feed, can be exempt. 

Pet food has additional requirements under the APA. 

Animal feed must also comply with APA requirements if it has animal product ingredients, as well as with biosecurity regulations.

Find out the legal requirements for pet food and animal feed:

Conditions on exemption

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

Find out more about the requirements that apply to your situation, based on the activity you're undertaking: 

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. These are set out in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 under the ACVM Act.

Find out about the regulations:

Substances generally recognised as safe (GRAS)

MPI maintains 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 should confirm that any feed additive in your product is GRAS.

Search the GRAS register and apply to include a substance:

When the exemption does not apply

Exemption from registration does not apply to ONCs if:

  • therapeutic or pharmacological claims (such as 'this product treats arthritis') are expressly stated or obviously implied
  • the product contains a feed additive that is not listed as 'generally recognised as safe' (GRAS).

In these cases, your product becomes a veterinary medicine and is likely to require registration.

Find out about registering a veterinary medicine:

If you're unsure of your product’s regulatory status under the ACVM Act, we can do a class determination for it. (There is a fee for this service.)

Find out about class determination:

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