Steps to exporting
Honey and bee product exporters must register with MPI and comply with New Zealand food standards and other regulations – as well as meet the requirements of their destination country.
Follow the steps
To export honey and bee products successfully you need to know about:
- registering as an exporter with MPI
- listing as a beekeeper if you're supplying honey for export
- all legislation relating to your type of business
- the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and New Zealand food legislation, including labelling and packaging requirements
- all the requirements of your destination country
- operating under the Animal Products Act or the Food Act
- registering for access to E-cert, MPI's online certification system, to apply for the required official assurances (export certificates)
- relevant fees and charges.
You may have to meet other requirements as well. 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 your importing agent in the destination country that you haven't overlooked any requirements.
Guidance document available
MPI has prepared a guide to exporting honey and bee products. Meeting the rules for exporting outlines what you need to do. It is designed for small to medium-sized businesses that are new to exporting but it may also be a useful reference for established businesses.
Download the guide [PDF, 580 KB]
Exporting organic honey and bee products
If you're exporting organic honey or bee products, 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.
Exporting mānuka honey
All honey labelled as mānuka for export must be tested by an MPI-recognised laboratory to make sure it meets the mānuka honey definition.
We'll check operators regularly to make sure they are following the rules. Beekeepers may also be checked if they are not meeting these requirements.
- Guide to labelling of New Zealand honey for export [PDF, 3.3 MB]
- Find out more about defining mānuka honey
- Questions and answers for labelling of New Zealand honey for export [PDF, 142 KB]
Exporting live bees and larvae
To export live bees and larvae not intended as food, see our live animals section.
Register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter
If you're exporting commercially you must register with MPI, or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.
If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comply with the Food Act 2014
Exporters of processed food, including honey and bee products, must operate under a food control plan or national programme.
Note: Existing businesses can continue to operate under a deemed food control plan or the food hygiene regulations until their transition to a food control plan or national programme.
Comply with New Zealand legislation and food standards
You need to meet labelling requirements and all relevant food standards and regulations, including the Food Act:
- Animal Products Act 1999 on the NZ Legislation website
- Food Act 2014 on the NZ Legislation website
- Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code on the Food Standards website.
If an official assurance is not required, you may be able to operate under the Food Act.
Find out the market access requirements for your destination country
As an exporter you're responsible for knowing and meeting the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs differ between countries and products, and set out requirements for all operators in your export chain – for example, farms, manufacturers, storage facilities, and transporters.
You need to apply to MPI to read the OMARs because they're password protected.
List as a beekeeper, if exporting
If you're supplying honey for export, you must be listed as a beekeeper. Complete the form to be listed.
Apply for beekeeper listing [PDF, 278 KB]
If you have questions about listing as a beekeeper, email email@example.com.
Search for your OMAR
When you have your password, you'll be able to read the OMAR for your products.
Read the OMAR for your destination country thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements.
If your export destination has an OMAR you'll likely need an 'official assurance', also known as an export certificate, before you can send your product. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination country that your product meets the standards set out in the OMAR.
Other information you should read includes:
Guidance offered by FYIs can help you with exporting concerns or issues. (You may need your OMAR password to read some FYIs.)
OMAR notifications will give you the latest updates for your destination country.
Exporting to a country with no OMAR
If there is no OMAR for your export destination, work directly with your importing agent to find out about certification and any other requirements. If an import permit is required, the permit will outline the requirements.
Note that if there is no OMAR, it could mean your product is prohibited from being sent to that country.
Some destinations that don't need official assurances may instead require Free Sales Certificates (FSC), or Free Sales Advice Statements (FSAS).
Find out if your premises need to be approved
Some countries require premises to be approved, or 'listed', before you can export your products. 'Listing' is a procedure agreed between governments for ensuring that a country's market access requirements are met and products are produced in premises approved to export to that country. Your OMAR will tell you if you need to be listed, and the process to follow.
Operating under a risk management programme
To get an official assurance for exporting honey or bee products, they must be produced and/or processed under a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP). Other suppliers in your export chain – for example, storage facilities, processors, and transporters – also need to operate under an approved programme. Information in the RMP will form part of your application for official assurance.
RMPs help you manage hazards, ensure your products are fit for purpose, and meet legal requirements. If at any point the honey and bee products are processed, transported, or stored outside of a registered RMP, you can’t get an official assurance and your products will lose their eligibility for export.
Use the template
You are responsible for developing your RMP. To simplify the job, we have created a 'fill in the blanks' RMP template for bee product processors. This template is in the bee products code of practice document.
If you don't want to use the template, you'll need to write your own RMP. When you do this you must ensure the requirements of all relevant legislation are met and the programme is shown to be effective.
- Find out how to develop an RMP
- Find out how to get your programme registered
- Find out more about RMPs for bee products
Refer to additional resources
You can prepare a successful RMP by using a code of practice (COP) developed by MPI in consultation with the honey and bee industry.
Register your RMP and get it verified
After developing your programme, you must register it with MPI. You must then be verified each year to ensure you are complying with your RMP and all legal requirements. You need to hire either Asurequality or MPI Verification Services to verify your RMP.
Manage tutin contamination
You must manage and control tutin contamination and ensure your honey and bee products comply with relevant limits.
- Find out about the Food Standard: Tutin in Honey 2016 [PDF, 115 KB]
- Read about tutin contamination and management
Ensure storage requirements are met
Businesses involved only in the storage of bulk honey contained in drums or other bulk containers (that is, beekeepers who store bulk honey that has been extracted by another producer) may operate under a bee product stores RMP template.
- Read more about the requirements for bee product stores [PDF, 224 KB]
Other stand-alone operators who store animal products including honey and bee products before they're exported must meet specific requirements, depending on the market.
Ensure transport requirements are met
Apply for access to E-cert
E-cert is a a web application MPI uses to issue government assurances for animal and dairy products that are exported from New Zealand. It is mandatory to use E-cert for some countries, and strongly recommended for all others. E-cert tracks products from the time they're produced until they’re exported.
E-cert is password protected and new exporters need to apply for access.
Your registration should be finalised within a week, provided all supplied information is correct and payments have been made. If you have any questions about registration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request an export certificate through E-cert
Once you are a registered user of E-cert, you can access the password-protected website and apply for a consignment's official assurance (export certificate).
The information you enter about your honey and bee products and the declarations you make confirm that your products comply with requirements. If you're exporting another manufacturer's products, you may need their help to complete the E-cert applications.
Are you using wood packaging?
If you use wood packaging products – other than paper – for your export product, check that 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.
When MPI is satisfied that your honey and bee products comply with all requirements and standards, we issue the official assurance (export certificate) through E-cert.
The official assurance can be provided for your consignment in various ways. Check the OMAR of your destination country and the Official Assurances Programme for more information.
When to alert MPI
As an exporter you have a legal responsibility to tell MPI within 24 hours if your honey or bee products for export:
- become unfit for the intended purpose
- are refused entry by a foreign government
- fail to meet relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
- don't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost.
Contact MPI if your products don't conform to our export requirements. You can either use the export non-conformance report to alert MPI about any problems, or use your own form – so long as your notification contains all the necessary information.
Download the export non-conformance report [PDF, 124 KB]
For issues or questions about export non-conformance, email email@example.com
Who to contact
If you have questions about exporting honey and bee products, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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