Advice for food importers

Food importers need to be aware of any issues that may affect the food they source.

Check recalls

MPI publishes recalls and warnings for domestically produced and imported foods. Importers need to check them regularly.

Foods of regulatory interest

There are extra import requirements for foods that have made people sick in the past, and foods that are more likely to make people sick. These "foods of regulatory interest" include a variety of products.

Foods of regulatory interest
  • Raw-milk products.
  • Fresh cheese.
  • Curd cheese.
  • Soft cheese.
  • Histamine-susceptible fish and fish products.
  • Puffer fish.
  • Ready-to-eat smoked fish and smoke-flavoured fish.
  • Bivalve molluscan shellfish.
  • Ready-to-eat crustaceans.
  • Bovine meat and bovine-meat products.
  • Fermented meat products.
  • Meat paste and pâté.
Nuts, seeds and fruit
  • Peanuts, pistachio nuts, and their products (including peanut butter).
  • Tahini and crushed sesame seeds (and any products containing them).
  • Frozen berry fruits.
  • Pepper.
  • Chilli.
  • Paprika.

Food safety clearances

You'll need a food safety clearance to import any of these foods. That will require you to demonstrate the food's safety in one of 4 ways:

  1. NZ Importer Assurance: A registered food importer that's verified by MPI can be issued with a NZ Importer Assurance (previously known as a Multiple Release Permit).
  2. Manufacturer's declaration: Bovine meat and products containing bovine meat that are imported from Australia must be accompanied by a manufacturer's declaration that the meat is of Australian or New Zealand origin.
  3. Official certificate: For some countries, MPI will accept official certificates (from the appropriate government agency) as assurance the food is safe. The certificate must be from the country of origin to for New Zealand. Certificates issued for other countries are not acceptable.
  4. Sampling and testing: In some cases, food will have to be sampled and tested. MPI will tell you if this is required.

Foods from Australia

Most foods from Australia can be imported without food safety clearance, except:

  • bivalve molluscan shellfish and products containing them
  • bovine meat and meat products containing more than 5% bovine meat.

Who to contact

If you have questions about food safety requirements, email

Last reviewed: