Overview – Organics

If you produce, sell or export New Zealand-made organic products, or import organic products, this page guides you through the requirements.

What ‘organic’ means

‘Organic’ is a labelling term used on products produced in accordance with organic production standards, which may be certified by a certification body or authority.

Organic agriculture is based on minimising the use of external inputs. For example, avoiding or excluding the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, antibiotics, growth promotants, genetic modification and irradiation. Organic handlers, processors and retailers follow voluntary standards to maintain the integrity of organically produced products.

It's important to note that organic certification standards are not food safety standards. Organic products must meet the same food safety standards that apply to all food for sale in New Zealand. You can read about MPI's organic food policy and the background behind it.

Organic food – MPI Food Safety policy statement

Requirements

The requirements your organic operation needs to comply with depends on the market for the organic product. Each are summarised below.

Organic products sold in New Zealand need to:

  • meet the standard regulatory requirements for the type of product (for example, dairy, honey, meat, etc).
  • comply with the Fair Trading Act 1986 in respect to using the term ‘organic’ in labelling and marketing claims.

Exported organic products need to:

  • meet the standard New Zealand regulatory requirements for the type of product - for example, dairy, honey or meat.
  • meet Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP) requirements if being exported under the OOAP
  • meet market access requirements of the country being exported to, where not covered under the OOAP

Imported organic products

All imported organic products need to meet the standard New Zealand legal requirements for imported food. There are also additional requirements, depending on the type of organic product being imported and its final use.

To understand the impact each situation has on your operation, and to ensure that you are complying, refer to the relevant pages within this section of the website as shown below.

What you will find here

The section of this website about organic products is split into various sub-sections. Use the menu on the left to find your way around.

For detailed information on the specific requirements you need to comply with, refer to the sub-sections below that apply to you. These are based on the market for the organic product.

  • Selling organic products in New Zealand
  • Exporting organic products
  • Importing organic products

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

  • Organic industry organisations – View national and international organics-related websites and organic certification bodies.
  • Fees & charges – Familiarise yourself with any service-related costs you may be required to pay to MPI Food Safety if operating under the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP).
  • Registers & lists – Get access to registers & lists including details of exporters and third party agencies operating under the OOAP.
  • Documents – Find a full list of documents relating to the OOAP.
  • What's new – Check this page regularly for important updates relevant to Organics.

Related information

Requirements specific to Organics are contained in this section, but make sure you also refer to general food safety requirements you may need to comply with.

Industry food sectors
General requirements and programmes

Keeping up to date

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

  • What's new – Click on What's new in the left-hand menu to read the most recent updates to Organics.
  • 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 email notifications.
  • Subscribe to feeds – Sign up to receive news feeds. Click on the Subscribe to feeds link at the bottom of any page to add to your list of news feeds.

Key contacts