Taking food overseas

When taking or sending food out of New Zealand as a gift or for personal use, you need to know and follow the rules of the destination country.


Find out what foods you can take with you

To find out what food you can take to the country you are travelling to, contact the embassy or representative of that country in New Zealand.

Some restrictions apply – check Customs' website

While there are very few restrictions on taking food out of New Zealand, there are some rules for toheroa, toothfish and pāua. 

Countries known to have specific rules

The European Union and the United States have a few rules around certain types of products. 

Taking animal products to the European Union

The European Union does not usually allow travellers to bring meat or dairy products with them.

There are some exemptions to these restrictions. The food must be infant milk, baby food or foods required for medical reasons and it must:

  • not require refrigeration before opening
  • be packaged in a form for direct sale to the final consumer
  • be in sealed packaging, unless in current use.

Sending food to the USA 

Before posting any food items to the United States of America, you may need to complete an online form to advise USA authorities of its arrival.

This applies to any manufactured food or drink for either humans or animals, including personal gifts. It does not apply to homemade foods being sent as personal gifts to individuals in the US.

Parcels or packets containing food or drink may be returned to you or destroyed.

Taking or sending NZ honey overseas 

There are no MPI restrictions on taking honey out of New Zealand for personal or non-commercial use by the person travelling with the product.  

In general, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America (USA) allow limited quantities of honey if it is in unopened, commercially packed containers.

If you want to check further, contact the relevant embassy or departments in the destination country.  Do not try to bring any honey back into New Zealand.

Taking food to the Pacific Islands 

When taking food, particularly cooked foods, to the Pacific Islands, you need to make sure the food stays safe to eat.

Exporter registration not needed

You don't need to register as an exporter to take animal products (including food) overseas, as long as they are for your personal or non-commercial use.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about taking food overseas, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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