Steps to importing ingredients for animal food

Ingredients or products for animal food 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.

Follow the steps 

Expand All
Step 1: What you need to know

An overview of importing ingredients for animal food from start to finish.


This process is for ingredients intended for food for animals. Ingredients all require further processing before they are marketed as animal food.

This includes (but isn't limited to):

  • animal products (such as meat, dairy, honey, eggs, meals, fats and oils)
  • plant material.

Importing related products

Processes for importing products related to ingredients for animal food are elsewhere on the website. Follow these steps if you're importing:

To successfully import ingredients for animal food you need to know about:

  • your ingredient, what it contains, where it is from, who made it, and how it was made
  • the relevant biosecurity import health standard (IHS) and meeting the requirements
  • applying for a permit to import stock feed, if required by the IHS
  • completing the questionnaire for plant-based stock feed, if a permit is required
  • zoosanitary or phytosanitary certificates
  • manufacturer's declarations, if needed
  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines requirements – you'll need to know the approval status of your ingredients
  • applying for class determination of the ingredients, if needed
  • packaging and labelling requirements
  • New Zealand Customs Service requirements
  • fees and charges.

If your commodity is a new organism to New Zealand, you may need approval from the Environment Protection Authority to import it.

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 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 standards (IHS) for the ingredients will tell you what you need to do to import your product into New Zealand. Read the IHS thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements.

Obtain a zoosanitary or phytosanitary certificate, if needed

You may need to get a zoosanitary (for animal product ingredients), a phytosanitary certificate (for plant ingredients), or both, completed in the country of export. Example certificates are included in the IHS.

Apply for a permit, if required

If you need a permit to import your ingredients, complete the relevant application, depending on whether the ingredients are of animal or plant origin.

For ingredients of animal origin, use either permit application form:

For ingredients of plant origin use:

Complete the questionnaire for processed stock feed of plant origin

If you want to import processed stock feed of plant origin, you'll need to complete the questionnaire and attach it with your documents supporting your permit application.

Download the questionnaire for processed stock food of plant origin [PDF, 61 KB]

Meet ACVM requirements

Ingredients for animal feed 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, ingredients for food for animals are authorised under the ACVM 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 placed on 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. For example, make 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 required

You may need to get a class determination letter from MPI confirming that 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]

Ask MPI if you're unsure

If you have questions, email

Prepare documents before your goods arrive

You'll need to make sure you have all the necessary approvals and documentation before your goods arrive in New Zealand. In addition to the ACVM class determination letter, documents needed may include:

  • a copy of your permit, if required
  • the phytosanitary certificate, if applicable
  • the vessel certificate, if applicable
  • the manufacturer's certificate, if applicable
  • the fumigation treatment certificate, if applicable.

The import health standard has more information about getting a permit and these certificates.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

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

Inspections will vary depending on whether your goods are arriving in bulk, bagged, or packed. Some consignments will be 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 ingredients 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 zoosanitary (animal product ingredients) and phytosanitary certificate (plant ingredients), if required, and supporting documentation from the exporting country
  • had your ingredients inspected and given clearance by an MPI inspector.

If your product doesn't comply on arrival

If your ingredients arrive without meeting the IHS and ACVM requirements, they will be held at the port of arrival. If there is any doubt whether your ingredients are authorised under the ACVM Act, they won't be cleared.

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

  • treat the ingredients
  • reship the ingredients to another destination
  • destroy the ingredients
  • ask for the ingredients to be held until you can confirm they are authorised.

You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliant ingredients.

If you need to confirm your ingredient's ACVM status, email

Who to contact

If you have questions about:

Last reviewed: