What is Containment

Containment facilities are designed and operated to prevent the release of the organism – or its heritable material – into the wider environment.

What is indoor and outdoor containment (for new organisms)?

“Containment” means to restrict a new organism in a secure location or facility.

“Indoor containment” means that the organism will be kept securely within a fully enclosed, 6-sided (walls, floor and roof) structure.  An example of indoor containment is a laboratory or glasshouse where the building (or room) along with other physical barriers and operational requirements are in place to prevent the organism and any heritable material from escaping.  All containment facilities must be approved and audited by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Outdoor containment” means that the organisms will be kept securely in an approved outdoor containment facility. Examples of outdoor containment facilities include zoo enclosures or fenced paddocks where fencing, other physical barriers and operational procedures are in place to prevent the organism and any heritable material from escaping. All outdoor containment facilities must be approved and audited by MPI.

What is an approved containment facility (for new organisms)? Plus

All containment facilities must be approved to the appropriate MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standard(s).  Approved containment facilities can be indoor containment facilities such as research or commercial laboratories or glasshouses, or outdoor containment facilities such as zoos or field test sites.

Containment facilities must be approved to one or more of the MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standards depending upon the activities undertaken within the facility.  All containment facilities are audited by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on a regular basis.

The MAF/ERMA Standards

With MPI, we have set out the physical and operational requirements for a specific type of containment facility.  These requirements are outlined in the MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standards.

The Standards are:

The Standards are also available from the MPI website:

Transitional & containment facilities - information for importers / users of these facilities

Transitional & containment facilities - information for facilities operators / getting approval

Physical Containment levels

Indoor containment facilities such as laboratories, glasshouses and animal facilities are approved to specific Physical Containment (PC) levels referred to as PC1, PC2, PC3 or PC4.  These levels are arranged in order of increasing stringency of operational and structural requirements. The requirements are described in the Australian and New Zealand Standard 2243.3 (with any exemptions listed in the MAF/ERMA New Zealand Standards). 

PC1 is the least stringent level, with PC4 being the most.

The Australian and New Zealand Standard 2243.3 can be bought from:

The Standards New Zealand website

Who is the compliance and enforcement agency for new organisms? Plus

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the compliance and enforcement agency for new organism containment or conditional release approvals under the HSNO Act.  MPI approves containment facilities under the Biosecurity Act and checks that the controls placed on approvals are being met by the users of those approvals through audits.

With us, MPI have set out the physical and operational requirements for a specific type of containment facility in our MAF/ERMA New Zealand Containment Standards.