Poultry processing

All poultry meat businesses must meet legal requirements to ensure their products are safe and suitable for human consumption.


Find out about the legislation that applies to your poultry meat business:

Requirements for poultry and poultry products

If you farm poultry for meat processing, or process, sell or export poultry products, you must meet legal requirements for food safety and suitability.

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.

Decide which requirements apply to your business

New Zealand's poultry industry is regulated by three food-related laws:

  • Agricultural Compound and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997
  • Animal Products Act 1999
  • Food Act 2014.

The legal requirements that apply depend on your business's activities. Identify these activities to make sure you comply with the corresponding legislation.

This activity type...must comply with......under this legislation
Poultry farmers documented Whole Flock Health Scheme (WFHS) Human Consumption Specifications
requirements for vaccinations, medicines, and feeds Agricultural Compound and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997
Primary processors (slaughter and dressing) a registered risk management programme (RMP) Animal Products Act 1999
microbiological testing requirements NMD Specifications
visual examination requirements before and after slaughter Ante- and Post-Mortem Examination Specifications
general safety and suitability requirements Food Act 2014
Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC)
labelling and composition requirements for products Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC)
All secondary processors general safety and suitability requirements Food Act 2014
Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC)
  labelling and composition requirements for products Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC)
Secondary processors only (cut-up, deboning, packaging) food control plan (FCP) or RMP Food Act 2014 or Animal Products Act 1999
Secondary processors who are also primary processors RMP (for primary processing) and RMP or FCP (for secondary processing) Animal Products Act 1999 or Food Act 2014 (for the secondary processing operations)
Secondary processors who export with an official assurance RMP Animal Products Act 1999

General requirements 

  • Poultry farmers must comply with the Animal Products Act 1999.
  • Primary processors must comply with the Animal Products Act 1999 and Food Act 2014.
  • Secondary processors must have a registered FCP under the Food Act 2014, or a registered RMP under the Animal Products Act 1999 if they are exporting with an official assurance. 
  • If you need to comply with an Act, you also need to comply with any related legislation, such as Regulations, Orders, Specifications, Notices, and Standards. 

All finished products intended for human consumption must comply with Part 1 and 2.2.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Read about Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ):

Find out about the Food Standards Code:

You may also have to comply with non-food legislation:

Find out about the requirements for producing petfood:

Controlling risks

Different legislation controls risks in different ways, for example by requiring businesses to have a risk management plan (RMP) or a food control plan (FCP).

Find out whether your business needs an RMP or FCP, and learn how they work:

Last reviewed: | Has this been useful? Give us your feedback
Feedback