Learn which animal diseases can be passed onto people. As well as having the potential to make you unwell, animal diseases are a concern for New Zealand’s reputation as a source of safe food products.

These animal diseases (called zoonoses) usually involve bacteria, parasites, or viruses. There are over 200 known zoonoses and most are preventable.

Transmission of zoonoses can occur if we:

  • consume infected meat and foods containing infected animal products
  • handle infected animals
  • handle animal feed that contains infected animal products
  • accidentally eat animal faeces as a result of poor hygiene practices.

Campylobacter and Salmonella are two zoonosis you may already know.

Animal diseases and our role

New Zealand food is exported to some of the world’s most demanding markets and eaten by New Zealanders too. Governments in these markets require assurance that their requirements for food products have been met. We have a responsibility to ensure all animal-related exports are free from disease. We provide these assurances for exports of:

  • animal products and animal by-products
  • foods containing animal products and animal by-products
  • animal feed containing animal products.