Secondary poultry processing

Find out your responsibilities as a secondary processor of poultry.

You're a secondary processor if you carry out processing and related activities beyond the slaughter and dressing of poultry. Your activities may include:

  • portioning ("cut-up")
  • deboning
  • value-adding (such as marinating)
  • forming
  • cooking
  • packaging ready-to-eat products ("value-adding").

Key legislation for secondary processors

If you're a secondary processor, you must comply with the Food Act and legislation made under the Act.

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.

Find out about the Food Act's requirements:

What secondary processors must do

As a secondary processor, you must operate under one of these scenarios:

  • an approved food control plan (FCP)
  • a registered risk management programme (RMP) if you're exporting with an official assurance
  • if you also do primary processing, an RMP for your primary processing and an FCP for your secondary processing or a registered RMP written to cover both primary and secondary processing.

If you're a secondary processor who also does primary processing, it may be best to operate under a risk management programme (RMP), which is usually simpler and cheaper. Find out which plan or programme suits your processing operation:

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

  • make sure 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 them.

Refer to the Code for more information. Standard 2.2.1: Meat and Meat Products is particularly relevant to the poultry industry. You'll also need to comply with the General Food Standards in chapter 1. Read about Standard 2.2.1 on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website:

Find out more about how to comply with the Food Standards:


To make sure you meet your legal requirements, you need to arrange regular audits by an independent verification agency. The verification agency you use will depend on which plan or programme you're operating under.

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