The process for exporting grains, seeds, and nuts
The requirements on this page are for seeds, grains, and nuts for human consumption.
Export requirements vary for grains, seeds, and nuts, depending on your destination market. We’ve created a step-by-step process so you can see what’s involved.
1. Check New Zealand food safety requirements
You need to meet New Zealand requirements before you can export your product. New Zealand standards are summarised in the Food Act 2014 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
You will also need to meet the New Zealand maximum residue limit (MRL) standard for pesticide residues. An MRL is the highest level of a pesticide residue that is allowed in food.
2. Check the importing countries phytosanitary requirements
Some overseas markets have phytosanitary (plant health) requirements that you need to meet. We summarise these in documents called Importing Countries Phytosanitary Requirements (ICPRs).
You can search to see if your market has ICPRs for your product. Not every market or product will have an ICPR.
If there is no ICPR
If there isn't an ICPR for your market or product, check with your importer or importing agent to understand what you need to do. You might need to get an import permit or similar.
Check with your importer or agent
Your destination market may have other requirements for your product, such as labelling and packaging. Ask your importer or agent about any requirements that your produce needs to meet. You should check with your importer even if there is an ICPR.
If you are exporting organic grains, nuts, or seeds, you need to know about the official organic assurance programme (OOAP). This programme is designed to make it easier to export organic products to specific countries.
3. Meet the destination market phytosanitary requirements
The importing country phytosanitary requirements are stated in the ICPR or in an import permit from the importing country authority. There may be independent verification required, such as inspection. For this, you will need to contact an MPI-authorised independent verification agency (IVA).
The IVA will be able to advise you on required documents, associated tests or treatments, and fees for their services.
Industry group requirements
Industry groups sometimes set other requirements. Contact them for more information.
For example, if you are exporting chestnuts, then check the Horticulture Export Authority's (HEA) requirements.
4. Apply for a phytosanitary certificate if needed
Apply for a phytosanitary certificate.
Phytosanitary certificates are issued only when it's determined by MPI that your products meet all the importing country's phytosanitary requirements.
5. Check wood packaging requirements
If you use wood packaging products – other than paper – for your export product, check your wood packaging meets the phytosanitary requirements of the destination country. Most countries require you to treat your wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases.
Additional requirements for some products
You may have to meet additional requirements. These might be of a commercial nature, or requirements set by other government agencies, like the New Zealand Customs Service.
It will also pay to check with the importing agent in your destination country that you haven't overlooked any requirements.
Exporting related products
Processes for exporting products related to grains, seeds, and nuts are elsewhere on the website.
If your grains, seeds, or nuts for export include other products, like in a muesli snack bar, follow our guide to exporting multi-ingredient foods.
Grains and seeds for sowing
If your grains or seeds are for sowing or growing, not for human consumption, follow our guide to exporting grains and seeds.
To export grains and seeds that will be used for animal feed, like feed wheat or barley, follow our guide to exporting animal feeds.
Who to contact
If you have questions about exporting grains, seeds, and nuts, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions about phytosanitary requirements, contact an IVA.