Bringing food for personal use

All food items brought into New Zealand need to be declared on your Passenger Arrival Card. Biosecurity officers may need to inspect some of the food you're bringing with you.

Food restrictions help protect New Zealand

MPI prohibits or restricts the entry of some food products because they could bring in pests and diseases that:

  • seriously damage our natural resources
  • lower agricultural and horticultural production
  • affect our ability to trade with other countries
  • threaten our economy.

When arriving in New Zealand, you must declare on your Passenger Arrival Card any food you're bringing in. You may also need to show the food to biosecurity quarantine inspectors.

If you think something is not allowed, or know that it is banned, it is better to leave it behind.

Even if it is allowed, if you don't declare food you're bringing to New Zealand you will:

  • be fined
  • have the food confiscated.

No fresh fruit, vegetables, meat or fish

Generally, you cannot bring in:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • fresh meat or fish
  • honey and bee products.

If you have any of these items with you, declare them or dispose of them on your arrival in the marked bins at the airport or seaport. If you don't declare all the food you are carrying, you will be fined and the food will be confiscated.

What food can you bring in?

Many foods can be brought into New Zealand but all food must be declared – even if you think it is allowed. If you don't declare food you're bringing into New Zealand, you will be fined and the food will be confiscated.

Generally, MPI officials at the border will allow in most food that is:

  • commercially prepared and packaged
  • shelf-stable
  • unopened.

Shelf-stable means that the food will still be edible for at least 4 months without refrigeration.

What about baked goods?

You can bring in most baked goods. But they must not contain:

  • fresh fruit (including as a filling or topping)
  • raw nuts
  • any fillings such as meat or fresh fruit.

What about confectionery, sweets, and lollies?

It depends on the ingredients. They must not contain:

  • liquid honey or other bee products, such as propolis
  • loose fresh fruit
  • loose raw seeds
  • citrus peel (candied citrus peel is okay)
  • meat products.

What about honey and honey spreads?

No, you cannot bring any types of honey to New Zealand. There is only one exception.

  • You can bring in honey that was produced and packaged in New Zealand if it's still in its original container with unbroken tamper-proof seals. 

What about maple syrup?

Yes, you can bring maple syrup to New Zealand unless it contains honey. If it contains honey, it will not be allowed in the country.

What about types of tea?

  • Common types of tea including loose or in sealed infusion bags, like Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green, and Chamomile can be brought in without restrictions.
  • Any tea products containing honey powder must be shelf-stable and have a limit of 1 box (50 servings or less) per passenger.
  • Kombucha tea and herbal tea, in sealed infusion bags (not hand tied), have no restrictions.
  • Loose herbal tea will require inspection at the border. If it contains citrus leaves, citrus peel, or seeds we would recommend not bringing this into New Zealand as the required treatment will ruin the tea.
  • Canton Love-Pea Tea: We would recommend not bringing this into New Zealand as the required treatment will ruin the tea.

It is helpful if you declare what kind of tea you have when you arrive.

Weight and volume restrictions for personal use

In addition to other restrictions, there are also limits on the amount of food you can bring into New Zealand for personal use. The precise quantity allowed for personal use depends on the type of product. Amounts over specified limits are classed as commercial and may have extra restrictions.

  • Liquid food (for example sealed fruit juice boxes, tinned soup) – a maximum of 10 litres (less for some products).
  • Concentrated liquid food (for example concentrated juice boxes) – a maximum of 2 litres (less for some products).
  • Solid food – a maximum of 10kg (less for some products).
  • Moisture reduced foods (for example freeze dried tramping meals) – a maximum of 2kg (less for some products).
  • Spices – a maximum of 1kg (less for some products).

Import health standards have more information

Details of weight, volume, and other restrictions are in documents called import health standards. An example is the Import Health Standard for Specified Food for Human Consumption Containing Animal Products. That standard has details about importing a lot of common types of meat products. Other standards cover other food types. Look for headings in such standards that mention "private consignments".

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about bringing food to New Zealand, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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