Laboratory testing for dairy

Dairy laboratory changes (after 31 August 2015)

After 31 August 2015 changes to dairy laboratory testing come into force with a two year transition period until 31 August 2017. 

New dairy laboratories need to implement requirements of a Recognised Laboratory Programme (RLP) detailed in the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Laboratories.

Existing dairy laboratories follow existing dairy laboratory testing requirements until the next IANZ assessment, where the laboratory will be assessed against requirements of a Recognised Laboratory Programme (RLP) as detailed in the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Laboratories.  It is the responsibility of the laboratory to implement requirements of the RLP before the next IANZ assessment.

Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Laboratories

Dairy laboratory requirements (prior to 31 August 2015)

Testing of dairy products is done in laboratories specifically recognised for this work.

Dairy products are tested to prove they conform with:

  • New Zealand minimum food safety requirements
  • Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs).

Testing must be carried out in a laboratory recognised in the appropriate category for the required test.

Refer to the page, Test methods, in the left-hand menu to find out more about testing and the methods used.

Dairy laboratory categories

Dairy laboratories are divided into 2 categories. Different testing is undertaken within each category.

Category 1 Laboratories

Category 1 laboratories test dairy product and material intended for domestic and export markets. They are recognised by MPI for testing to demonstrate that the product:

  • is fit for purpose, including food safety, wholesomeness, and standard of identity or truth of labelling
  • meets specific requirements for overseas market access.

Category 2 Laboratories

Category 2 laboratories are recognised dairy laboratories that belong to an animal product business. They test the business’s dairy material, including raw milk, which is intended for the domestic market. They are recognised by MPI to carry out testing which demonstrates that the product:

  • is fit for purpose for sale in New Zealand, including food safety, wholesomeness, and standard of identity or truth of labelling
  • meets requirements set out in the company’s Risk Management Programme (RMP) for internal quality control and Good Operating Practice (GOP).

Finding a dairy laboratory

MPI maintains a searchable list of all dairy laboratories.

Recognised agencies – dairy laboratories

Getting recognised as a dairy laboratory

All category 1 laboratories meet the requirements of ISO17025 as they apply to testing of dairy products. The requirements are published by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ).

International Accreditation New Zealand (External website)

You can find out more about ISO accreditation and how laboratories and recognised agencies operate in the General requirements section of the website.

Labs & recognised agencies/persons

The requirements to become or operate as a recognised agency are outlined in the following Notice. It also sets out specifications for category 2 laboratories.

Animal Products Notice: Dairy Recognised Agency and Recognised Persons Specifications 2015 (178 KB PDF)

Terminating a contract with a dairy operator

If a recognised agency terminates a contract with a dairy operator, then they must notify MPI in writing. The requirement is set out in the following Notice.

Animal products (Requirement for recognised agencies to notify of termination of contract) notice 2008 (59 KB PDF)