Chemical residues and contaminants in dairy products

If you operate under an RMP or are a verifier, you need to ensure that residues are not present in NZ dairy products. The National Chemical Contaminants Programme (NCCP) is one way that this is managed.

Under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999, all dairy processing, including activities at the farm dairy, must be covered by a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP). The APA sets out various requirements to ensure that residues are not present in New Zealand dairy products. These are regulated in conjunction with the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997, which sets out the use of agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines.

You need to know about these requirements if you are responsible for:

  • developing or operating a dairy RMP
  • verifying or assessing RMPs or particular activities under an RMP.

When exposure to contaminants is suspected

MPI has developed guidelines to assist you with managing product that may have been exposed to chemical residues that exceed maximum residue limits (MRLs). These cover exposure in:

  • raw milk and raw dairy material
  • other dairy material and product.

The guidelines offer information to RMP operators and recognised agencies to help them determine the best course of action when non-conforming or contaminated milk is suspected or confirmed.

Guideline for managing dairy material or product potentially exposed to chemical residues

National Chemical Contaminants Programme (NCCP)

NCCP monitors milk and dairy products to confirm that residue or contaminant levels do not exceed acceptable limits for New Zealand or for export markets. Data is collected in 3 ways to verify that contaminants are being controlled. These are:

  • random monitoring, through an annual sampling regime
  • directed surveillance, which targets substances and practices that pose a higher risk
  • surveys, which focus on materials or compounds for which little or no historic data exists.

You can find detailed information about how sampling is undertaken in the operational criteria.

Dairy National Chemical Contaminants Programme – Operational criteria (106 KB PDF)

The Food monitoring programmes section of the website has further information about NCCP.

National Chemical Contaminants Programme (NCCP)