MPI Verification Services

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Verification Services (MPI Verification Services or MPI VS) verifies that Risk Management and Food Safety Programmes are followed at premises where meat, seafood and other animal products are processed. It employs veterinarians to inspect animals, ensure animal welfare protocols are followed, and provide export certification for the products that are produced.

Prior to October 2011, MPI VS was known as NZFSA VA (Verification Agency), and briefly as MPI VAFP.

About MPI VS

MPI Verification Services is accountable for verifying that meat, seafood and other animal products and by-products, meet both the New Zealand standards and additional standards of importing countries.

MPI VS employs more than 280 staff. About 200 of these are registered veterinarians. VS staff work throughout New Zealand in locations where meat, seafood and other primary products are processed and stored. This includes slaughterhouses, meat and fish packhouses, cold storage facilities and other specialised premises processing animal products.

MPI VS staff also perform imported foods clearance procedures. Most of this work occurs in Auckland but all centres with international seaports and airports are involved.

MPI VS provides verification and certification services to about 700 food processing companies (for example, meat, seafood, game and dairy), the majority of whose products are exported worldwide. The export meat sector accounts for 80% of the Verification Service's activities.

MPI VS plays a key role in the meat industry. Meat products are New Zealand's second largest food export income earner (after dairy products).

Cost-effectiveness of MPI VS

MPI VS operates on a full cost-recovery basis, with annual revenue of almost $40m. A 2010 review resulted in overall confirmation of this organisation's cost-effectiveness.

The review also suggested improvements to VS's cost-effectiveness. MPI is using the recommendations to inform targeted areas for improvement.

The full VS review and its findings can be found here:

Review of Cost-Effectiveness of the NZFSA Verification Agency 2010 (1.69 MB PDF)

During late 2010 to mid-2011, 3 External Stakeholder Surveys were delivered to circuit-based premises, premises with full-time VS presence, and dairy exporters. These gathered more information to help VS management understand any issues raised, and implement the recommendations of the 2010 cost-effectiveness review.

ISO accredited

MPI VS is accredited to ISO17020 and is a recognised agency under the Animal Products Act (1999). It is audited annually by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ).

This recognition is the legal basis for MPI VS providing verification and official assurance services. These are applied in particular to animal products, animal material, and certification of live animals or germplasm being exported from New Zealand.

Career opportunities at MPI VS

If you're interested in working for MPI VS, see the 'Become a MPI VS veterinarian' page, in the menu to the left.

Verification Online database (VOL)

Verification Online (VOL) is the tool MPI VS uses to collect and manage the data from verification activities, to support export certification.

MPI VS plans to give businesses password access to the database by 2012, so they can access their own verification information. This is part of MPI's aim of simpler and more direct interaction between MPI VS and industry.

To be notified when this happens, sign up to get email updates for the 'About us' section of this website, or bookmark this page and check back periodically.

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More about food inspection standards

For more about the standards used for food safety and inspection, look under the 'Industry requirements' link, near the top left of this page.