Steps to importing animal feeds of plant origin

Plant-origin animal feeds need to meet specific requirements to be imported into New Zealand. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Who to contact

If you have questions about:

Expand All

Follow the steps

Step 1
What you need to know

An overview of importing animal feeds of plant origin from start to finish.


This import process covers plant-origin:

  • feeds imported to be eaten by animals such as livestock, companion animals or pets. Plant-origin feeds include:
    • non-viable seeds
    • pelleted feeds
    • meals
    • bran
    • retail packaged pet foods.
  • nutrient or dietary supplements to be fed to an animal or mixed into an animal’s feed.

Importing related products

Processes for importing other types of animal feeds are set out elsewhere on this website. Follow these steps if you're importing:

If you want to import animal food that contains animal products other than plants, such as dairy, egg, blood and feather meal, you will need to follow the steps for importing:

To successfully import plant-origin animal feeds you need to know about:

  • your product, what it contains, where it's from, who made it, and how it was made
  • the biosecurity import health standard (IHS) and meeting its requirements
  • applying for a permit to import stock feed, if required by the IHS
  • completing the questionnaire for stock feed, if a permit is required
  • phytosanitary certificates, manufacturers' certificates, treatment certificates, and independent verification authority declarations, if required
  • vessel certificates for bulk shipments in ship holds
  • packaging and labelling requirements
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) requirements
  • applying for an ACVM class determination of the animal feed you are importing, if needed
  • relevant fees and charges.

You will also need to meet New Zealand Customs Service requirements, such as tariffs and permits, and be aware of product prohibitions and restrictions. MPI and NZ Customs have different requirements.

Are you using wood packaging?

If your consignment is shipped to New Zealand on wooden pallets, or wood has been used to package any part of your consignment, you'll also need to comply with the requirements for importing wood packaging.


Step 2
What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Meet biosecurity requirements

Biosecurity requirements are detailed in documents called import health standards. The import health standard (IHS) for plant-origin animal feeds will tell you what you need to do to import your product into New Zealand. Read it thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all of the requirements.

The IHS has details about:

  • documentation required, like manufacturers' and treatment certificates
  • treatments
  • packaging and labelling
  • in-transit requirements
  • individual requirements for specific items in a product you're importing (like multi-ingredient stock feeds).

Download the IHS for importing processed animal feeds of plant origin [PDF, 696 KB]

Apply for a permit, if needed

The IHS will tell you if a permit to import is needed for your plant-origin animal feed. If required, apply for a permit from MPI by completing the application form.

Download the Application for Permit to Import for plant derived material, microorganisms associated with plants, soil or water [DOCX, 108 KB]

Fill out a questionnaire if importing stock feed

If you’re applying to import stock feed, you’ll need to fill out the questionnaire and send it to MPI, along with your permit application.

Download the stock food questionnaire [PDF, 61 KB]

Meet ACVM requirements

Animal feed and dietary supplements are classed as oral nutritional compounds (ONCs) under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. Many ACVM products have to be registered.

Normally, food and dietary supplements for animals are authorised under the Act by an 'exemption under regulations'. This allows you to import, manufacture, sell, or use the product without registration if you:

  • comply with the conditions of the exemption
  • don't make claims that the product prevents or treats disease.

Exemption conditions are outlined in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011 (entry 25 in Schedule 2).

Confirm your product is fit for purpose and safe

You must comply with the requirements in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations 2011. This includes making sure your product is 'fit for purpose' and all the ingredients are safe.

Imported feed commodities

You must also meet the requirements set out in the ACVM (Imported Feed Commodities) Notice 2014.

Download the Imported Feed Commodities: ACVM (Imported Feed Commodities) Notice 2014 [PDF, 264 KB]

Request a class determination, if needed

You may need to get a class determination letter from MPI to confirm your product is exempt from ACVM registration. A fee applies, and you'll need to give the letter to MPI border staff when your goods arrive. This is only needed if the product isn't obviously exempt, for example, if the label suggests the product has a therapeutic effect.

Download the form to request a class determination [DOCX, 341 KB]

Get your product registered if it's not exempt

Products that don't meet the criteria for exemption usually need to be registered with MPI before they're imported. Note, registration may take several months.

Ask MPI if you're unsure

If you're uncertain about your animal feed's ACVM status, email

Prepare documents before your consignment arrives

Make sure you have all the necessary approvals and documentation before your goods arrive in New Zealand. The documents you may need include:

  • a copy of your permit, if required
  • the manufacturer's certificate, if applicable
  • the treatment certificate, if applicable
  • class determination letter, if required.

The IHS has more information about these documents.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

An MPI inspector will check your product and documentation when they arrive in New Zealand.

The inspection will depend on whether your goods are arriving bulk in vessels, bulk in containers, or bagged. Some consignments are tested (for example, to make sure seeds aren't viable), and routine audits are done to test for the presence of ruminant protein contamination.

Inspections also check if your product is authorised under the ACVM Act.


Step 3
Getting your import documents

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

Your animal feed will be cleared for entry into New Zealand when you have:

  • completed all the steps and met all the IHS and ACVM requirements
  • included the correct supporting documentation from the exporting country
  • had your animal feed inspected and given clearance by an MPI inspector.

If your product doesn't comply on arrival

If your animal feed arrives without meeting the IHS and ACVM requirements, it will be held at the port of arrival. If there is any doubt whether your product is authorised under the ACVM Act, it won't be cleared.

Following assessment, an MPI inspector will advise you to do one of the following:

  • treat the product
  • reship the product to another destination
  • destroy the product
  • ask for the product to be held until you can confirm it is authorised.

You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance.

Last reviewed: