Overview – dairy

If you harvest, manufacture, store, transport or export dairy products, this page provides an introduction to the food safety requirements. If you're new, start here.


All dairy businesses must meet legal requirements which ensure the dairy products they handle are safe and suitable for human consumption.

In general, dairy operations meet requirements under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. Under the Act, there are regulations, notices and specifications which give effect to and clarify the requirements.

The requirements you comply with depend on the whether you are milking animals, manufacturing dairy products, storing and transporting dairy products and whether these activities are for the New Zealand market or for export.

Following is a brief overview – refer to the section and legislation relevant to your operation to find out the specific requirements you must meet.

  • Milking – you operate under a Risk Management Programme (RMP), which includes procedures for the operation of your facility including the use of chemicals. In some circumstances, you may be covered by a manufacturer’s RMP.
  • Manufacturing – you must operate under an RMP if your products are intended for export. If they are only for the domestic market, then you can operate under a Food Control Plan (FCP).
  • Storing and transporting – the requirements you need to meet if you store or transport dairy products depends on whether product is intended for export or sale in Australia or NZ.
  • Exporting – you must meet general requirements, such as registration, if you are an exporter. The dairy products you export must be manufactured under a registered RMP.

What you will find here

The Dairy section of the site is split into various sub-sections. Use the menu on the left to find your way around.

You can find detailed information about requirements that apply to you in the following sub-sections:

Getting started in dairy  – if you have a new business, then this section will guide you to the requirements that best suit your operation.

Farm dairies – this section outlines requirements for dairy farmers, sharemilkers, dairy farm managers and farm dairy operators.

Dairy manufacturing – get information about manufacturing dairy products, including yoghurt, ice cream, cheeses and raw milk products, and find Notices and specifications, approved criteria, guidance, Codes of Practice and other documents useful to manufacturers.

Storing & transporting dairy products – find out about the requirements for storing and transporting dairy products intended for the New Zealand market or for export.

Monitoring programmes & testing for dairy products – sets out the requirements you need to meet for monitoring of dairy products under the National Chemical Contaminants Programme (NCCP) and Independent Verification Programme (IVP), and provides information about the laboratories accredited to test dairy products using approved methods.

Exporting dairy products – get an overview of exporting requirements for dairy products and learn how the dairy quota programme works.

Dairy market access (OMARs/FYIs) – this section provides important reference material for exporters about market access requirements.

Further sub-sections provide more generic information relevant to Dairy:

  • Fees & charges – Familiarise yourself with any service-related costs you may be required to pay to MPI.
  • Registers & lists – Get access to registers & lists including quota compliance programmes, exporters, recognised persons for dairy testing, approved test methods and country listings.
  • Documents – Find a full list of documents relating to Dairy.
  • What’s new – Check this page regularly for important updates relevant to Dairy.

Related information

Requirements specific to food safety in the Dairy industry is contained in this section. Make sure you also refer to general food safety requirements you may need to comply with – particularly Good Operating Practice (GOP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Food Control Plans (FCPs) and Risk Management Programmes (RMPs).

General requirements & programmes

Operating under the Food Act

Rules for food businesses are changing – we're moving from the Food Act 1981 to the Food Act 2014. From 1 March 2016, all new businesses must operate under the Food Act.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) will shift to the new Act between 2016 and 2019. Check the timetable to find out when your type of business has to transition.

Keeping up to date

It’s important to keep up to date with any new or revised Dairy information, including requirements, consultations, strategies and other content changes. There are different ways to keep up to date – choose the methods that work best for you:

What's new – Click on What’s new in the left-hand menu to read the most recent updates to Dairy.

Get emails – Sign up to receive the latest MPI news by email. Click on the Get emails link at the bottom of any page to sign-up for email notifications.

Subscribe to feeds – Sign-up to receive news feeds. Click on the Subscribe to feeds link the bottom of any page to add to your list of news feeds.