1. Honey and bee product exports – New Zealand requirements

To be eligible for export, honey and bee products from New Zealand must meet strict requirements.

What exporters must do

If you're exporting honey or bee products, you need to make sure the products you export have been produced to meet New Zealand requirements and any requirements of the destination market.

There are New Zealand requirements for beekeepers and requirements that must be met by processors and handlers.

What processors must do to meet export requirements

You need to meet New Zealand honey processing requirements, plus any extra export requirements if you're involved in any part of the process to produce honey or bee products for export, including if you:

  • extract honey or bee products
  • cream or blend honey
  • package products
  • store or transport products.

You also need to check if there are requirements specific to the destination market.

Source from a listed beekeeper

You can only export honey and bee products that have been sourced from a beekeeper who is listed with MPI.

If you are the first to process bee products for export, you must get a harvest declaration from the beekeeper for every delivery of bee products.

You must keep a copy of these declarations for at least four years.

Check if an export certificate is required

Some requirements are different depending on whether or not you need an export certificate. This depends on the requirements of your destination market, which are outlined in the password-protected OMAR documents.

If you don't have an OMAR password and are not sure if you need an export certificate, contact our exporter help team.

If you need an export certificate

Operate under a Risk Management Programme

You must operate under a registered and verified Risk Management Programme (RMP) if the destination you're exporting to requires an export certificate.

Other suppliers in your export chain, eg storage facilities, processors, and transporters – also need to operate under an approved programme.

For specific information about developing and registering your RMP, or about having it evaluated and verified, refer to:

Annual processor levy

If you are processing or storing honey or bee products for export and operating under a RMP, MPI will charge you an annual levy to cover the cost of:

  • developing requirements and standards for the honey and bee product industry;
  • negotiating access to export markets; and
  • monitoring residues under the bee products Regulated Control Scheme (RCS).
Provide eligibility documentation for export certificates

RMP operators are required to provide evidence of where their bee products are from, and how they have been handled and processed.

Eligibility documents are raised in MPI’s Electronic Certification system (E-cert) to prove that the product has remained in the RMP chain. These documents are used as supporting evidence when raising an export certificate.

If you process or store animal products for a market that requires an export certificate, you must enter information into E-cert whenever the products move between premises.

Provide a manufacturer's declaration

Some markets require a manufacturer’s declaration as supporting evidence alongside an export certificate. This is a statement from the processor certifying that specific batches of product were produced to the standards set by the export market.

The requirements for a manufacturer’s declaration vary between markets. Declaration requirements may be stated in the OMARs and should also be checked with your exporter.

As an operator you must ensure that when your bee product is intended to be sold as honey, nothing else is added to the product after extraction.

If you don't need an export certificate

If the bee products you are processing are exported to markets that do not require an export certificate, you can operate under the Food Act 2014. This means you may use a National Programme or a custom Food Control Plan instead of, or as well as, operating a Risk Management Plan.

Steps for National Programme 1

Steps to a Custom Food Control Plan

Provide transfer documents

Transfer documents are required for all bee products that are intended for export to countries that do not require an export certificate.

The operator of the premise of final control (the last place the bee products are physically located before they are transferred to a port for export) must provide the transfer documents to the exporter, and keep a copy for four years.

When a consignment of bee products is transferred from one premise to another, the sending operator must provide a transfer document to the receiving operator.

Download a transfer document template [PDF, 271 KB]

  • If both operators have active RMPs then the transfer document must be in the form of an eligibility document generated in E-cert.
  • Part 4 of the General Export Requirements for bee products (GREX) sets out the requirements surrounding transfer documents.

Meet labelling requirements

If you package bee products, you need to comply with the labelling requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Labelling consultants can help you work out what you need to do.

Destination market labelling requirements

Some destination market labelling requirements can be found in the OMARs (Overseas Market Access Requirements). Registered exporters or RMP operators can apply for access to view OMARs via the MPI website.

Search OMARs

If you're exporting mānuka honey

There are extra rules and requirements for producing and exporting mānuka honey.

Operators of premises of final control must ensure that all final eligibility documents they raise in E-cert for consignments of honey labelled as mānuka honey include:

  1. The required validated laboratory test results proving that each batch of honey in a consignment is mānuka honey; and
  2. In the product description field, the exact mānuka honey statement intended for any resulting export certificates. Mānuka honey must meet the MPI definition.

Premises of final control means the last place the bee products are physically located before they are transferred to a port for export. These premises must be operating under a risk-based measure.

Who to contact

If you have questions about exporting honey and bee products, email exporterhelp@mpi.govt.nz

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