Growing organically to sell in New Zealand

Requirements for selling organics

If you sell products labelled as organic in New Zealand, you need to:

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

Note that MPI does not administer organic standards for products sold in New Zealand. Further information about each of these requirements is provided below.

Standard regulatory requirements

You must meet the regulatory requirements for your type of product (for example, seafood, wine, or dairy). These requirements apply to all foods and food products sold in New Zealand, whether they are organic or not. They are required to be produced in accordance with appropriate New Zealand legislation, such as the following:

  • Animal Products Act 1999
  • Wine Act 2003
  • Food Act 2014
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997.

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act.

Labelling organics

All food sold in New Zealand must be labelled with certain kinds of information. Food labels must comply with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code, which MPI administers in New Zealand.

To understand the specific regulatory requirements for processing your product type, refer to the appropriate food sector:

Complying with the Fair Trading Act 1986

Marketing products as organic

If your product is organic, you may say this on the label. In New Zealand, marketing claims and use of the term 'organic' on food labels is controlled through the Fair Trading Act 1986. This means that:

  • representations about food must be truthful and accurate, and they must not mislead a consumer
  • you must be able to demonstrate that products labelled as 'organic' are produced organically
  • if you claim that your products are 'certified organic', you must be able to back this claim up with a certificate.

Usage of the term 'organic' under the Fair Trading Act 1986 is enforced by the Commerce Commission.

Certifying as an organic producer

You may choose to have your production processes certified as organic. Organic certification means that you have met a set of standards and that your compliance has been verified by a certifying organisation.

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