Secondary processors

This page gives you an overview of your responsibilities as a secondary processor of poultry.

You are a secondary processor if you carry out processing and associated activities beyond the slaughter and dressing of poultry. This includes:

  • portioning ('cut-up')
  • deboning
  • value-adding (e.g. marinading)
  • forming
  • cooking
  • packaging ready-to-eat products ('value-adding').

Key legislation for secondary processors

If you are a secondary processor, you must comply with the Food Act and legislation made under the Act ('subordinate legislation').

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.

If you are a secondary processor who also does primary processing, it may be best to operate under a Risk Management Programme (RMP). This is usually simpler and cheaper than operating under 2 different Acts.

See more details under 'Choose your programme', in the menu to the left.

What secondary processors must do

As a secondary processor, you must operate under 1 of 4 scenarios:

  • an approved Food Control Plan (FCP)
  • if you also do primary processing, a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP) for your primary processing, and an FCP for your secondary processing
  • if you also do primary processing, a registered RMP written to cover both your primary processing and your secondary processing
  • if you are exporting with an official assurance, a registered RMP is your only option.

You must also comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Food Standards Code) and the New Zealand Food Standards. This always applies, no matter which option you operate under.

This means you need to:

  • ensure your ingredients are fit for use and declare any allergens
  • package your products safely
  • label your products accurately and truthfully
  • calculate the shelf-life of your products and date-mark them

Regulations and Standards under the Food Act

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (External website)

'Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products' in the Code is particularly relevant to the poultry industry. Note you'll also need to comply with the 'General Food Standards' in Chapter 1 of the Code.

Search for Standard 2.2.1 on the FSANZ website below.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (External website)

For more details on which programme to choose and how to comply with the Food Standards, see the 'Food Standards' page in this 'Secondary processors' section. Find it in the menu to the left.

Verification

To ensure you are meeting your legal requirements, you need to arrange regular audits by an independent verification agency.

The verification agency you use depends on what you are operating under. See the 'Choose your programme' page for more details, in the menu to the left.