Follow the steps
There are 5 steps to exporting pet food. It is the exporter's responsibility to ensure all requirements have been met before the pet food is exported.
1. Meet NZ pet food requirements
Find out about New Zealand requirements for pet food that's being exported.
2. Check destination requirements
Check if there's export access to your preferred market, and what the rules are to export there. Some markets require official assurances, which mean pet food must be produced under a Risk Management Programme.
Check destination requirements
3. Register as a pet food exporter
To export pet food that contains animal products from New Zealand, you need to register as an exporter, or use the services of a registered exporter.
Register as a pet food exporter
4. Register for E-cert
Find out how to apply for access to Animal Products E-cert to track export pet food production and apply for official assurance.
5. Apply for an export certificate
Not all markets require an export certificate or official assurance – if you need it you'll apply through E-Cert.
Apply for an export certificate
You may also have to meet other requirements, including those set by government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service.
Learn more about export clearance procedures on the NZ Customs website
Find out about storage and transport requirements
Video - Thinking of exporting pet food? (2.26)
If you’re new to exporting pet food, watch this video to find out more about MPI's rules.
Transcript - show/hide
[Animations play during the video and the narrator speaks. Upbeat music plays.]
[The title of the video comes onto screen: Thinking of Exporting Pet Food?]
Narrator: "Thinking of Exporting Pet Food?"
[The first scene shows a dog and a cat sitting next to empty food bowls. Dog and cat food packets then tip food into the bowls.]
"If you want to export pet food, you need to know which rules apply."
[A plate with pet food ingredients pops up. A globe of the world also pops up with location pointers.]
"There are different rules depending on things like the ingredients in your pet food and the market you're selling to.
[The dog and cat are seen again sitting.]
"Just to be clear, when we say 'pet food', we mean food for cats and dogs."
[A table pops up in front of the cat and dog with 3 groups of images for 'food for regular meals', 'treats', and 'nutritional supplements'. The cat peeks out from behind the table.]
- food for regular meals
- treats, and
- nutritional supplements."
[The food disappears and numbers 1, 2, and 3 pop up with the cat swatting at them as they appear.]
"To help you work out what you need to do, we're going to ask you 3 questions.
[Question text 'Can you call it pet food?' appears.]
"Firstly, can you call it pet food?"
[The screen is split into 4 squares. The first square shows a dog with a bowl of dog food. The second square shows a plate of ingredients and a form with a manufacturing image. The third square shows a pack of dog food with a label. The fourth square shows a records book and receipts.]
"To be called pet food under New Zealand rules, your product needs to meet our requirements for things like:
- being fit for purpose
- ingredients and manufacturing
- and record keeping."
[A scroll with ACVM on the front comes onto screen along with a plate with dog treats, supplements, and medicines.]
"The requirements we use are in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Regulations (we call it ACVM for short)."
[Question text 'What’s in your pet food?' appears.]
"The second question is, what's in your pet food?"
[The screen is split into 3 with 3 plates that pop up. The first shows animal products, the second shows grains and vegetables, and the third shows a mixture of both.]
"Pet food can be made from:
- animal products
- grains and vegetables
- or a mixture of both.
[A scroll with the letters APA appears next to the plate with animal products including chicken, salmon, red meat, and mussels. The other plates disappear from view. A cat's paw grabs the salmon from the plate.]
"If your pet food contains any animal products, the other rules you need to know about are in the Animal Products Act, or the APA for short.
[The screen is split into 4 squares. The first screen shows an exporter holding a document with 'MPI registered' on it. The second square shows 2 forms with 'Overseas Market Access Requirements' on them. The third screen shows a factory next to a form 'Risk Management Programme' and a man in a factory uniform. The fourth square shows a form named 'Export Certificate' and a form named 'Risk Management Plan'.]
"You might need to:
- register as an animal products exporter
- meet the Overseas Market Access Requirements, or OMARs, as we call them
- make and handle your pet food under a Risk Management Programme or use a registered Further Pet Food Processor
- and get an animal products export certificate. You can only get one if everyone under the supply chain has a Risk Management Programme."
[Question text 'What does your overseas market need you to do' appears.]
"Finally, the third question is, what does your overseas market need you to do?"
[A man is on the phone in an office with a window behind him, showing the Sydney Opera House.]
"Regardless of what your pet food is made of, ask your importer what your overseas market needs you to do."
[The screen split to also show an exporter in New Zealand on the phone. She raises her arm holding an ACVM statement.]
"Some overseas markets need you to show that your pet food could be sold in New Zealand, even if you only plan on exporting it."
"You need to get a statement from MPI for this."
[The video zoom to the bottom right corner, where the dog pops up holding a 'to do' list in its mouth.]
"So that gives you a quick overview of the rules you need to know to export pet food."
[The exporter appears, using a computer. She is looking at the MPI website.]
"Go to the 'Steps to exporting pet food' page on our website to find out what you need to do."
[She opens the pet food glossary and the pet food decision tree guides and scrolls through them.]
"You’ll find the pet food glossary and the pet food decision tree guides to help you.
[The video pan up to the sky, where the email address firstname.lastname@example.org appears.]
"And if you've still got questions, or just need a bit of help or advice, contact us at email@example.com."
[End of transcript]
Resources for pet food exporters
- Pet food exporting glossary – some terms you'll need to know [PDF, 298 KB]
- Pet food exporting decision tree – find out which rules apply to your product [PDF, 219 KB]
As an exporter, you're responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if your pet food for export:
- becomes unfit for its intended purpose
- is refused entry by a foreign government
- fails to meet the relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
- doesn't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost.
Find out more about export non-conformances
Who to contact
If you have questions about exporting pet food products, email firstname.lastname@example.org