Regulation of monitoring programmes

Residue and contaminant monitoring is a vital part of NZ's risk-based approach to food legislation, which confirms that industry controls and practices minimise risks.

Key legislation

Food-related legislation in New Zealand has 2 main thrusts – protecting public health and facilitating trade, including access to overseas markets – underpinned by a risk-based approach. The food regulatory regime works from 'farm to fork' to protect against risks associated with chemicals, organisms and physical contaminants, as well as ensuring appropriate storage, transport, packaging and labelling.

Monitoring programmes for food producers, processors, sellers or importers are regulated under 2 Acts:

  • Animal Products Act 1999
  • Food Act 1981

Regulatory controls

All food businesses or food processors must meet requirements under the relevant Acts to provide safe and suitable food. These are carried out through:

  • food Standards
  • Food Safety Programmes (FSPs)
  • Risk Management Programmes (RMPs)
  • Regulated Control Schemes (RCSs)
  • Notices and directions
  • export requirements and controls.

You can find out more about the legislation and accompanying notices, standards and regulations in the Food regulation section.

Food regulation

How food monitoring programmes help to ensure food is fit for purpose

New Zealand protects its reputation in destination markets through monitoring programmes that demonstrate compliance with standards.

The programmes, which take a risk-based approach, are developed to achieve one of the following:

  • align standards with New Zealand's trading partners
  • assure trading partners that New Zealand systems deliver results that meet their requirements.

Controls and practices, carried out by the food industry, ensure that residues, contaminants and microbiological levels in food do not breach any regulatory thresholds. New Zealand's monitoring programmes are designed to confirm the effectiveness of these controls and practices. An exception to this is the Imported Food Monitoring Programme, which ensures that imported food complies with New Zealand's Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

Other programmes measure, in general, the effectiveness of:

  • registration controls on veterinary medicines
  • good agricultural practice.

By taking a risk-based approach to food safety that isbased on science, MPI is able to optimise monitoring activities by directing efforts to the significant risks in New Zealand's food.

Ensuring compliance

Within MPI, the Compliance and Enforcement Group (CEG) investigates breaches of the Acts under its jurisdiction. The CEG is the 'eyes and ears' of MPI food safety. It carries out compliance audits in the export sector and the domestic food area, as well as assisting with overseas audits of New Zealand’s food production systems.

Recognised agencies are responsible for verifying that food producers are complying with their statutory obligations. You can find out more about their work in the General requirements section of the website.

Labs & recognised agenices/persons

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible – under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 – for imposing controls that limit human exposure to a wide range of substances, including agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines. It sets the acceptable daily intake of chemicals and contaminants that underpins the New Zealand Total Diet Study (NZTDS).