All food for sale must be imported by a registered food importer
Unregistered importers will have their consignments held until they gain their food importer registration (FIMP#).
You can avoid unnecessary delays by getting registered before you lodge your next consignment.
MPI lists registered food importers in a public database.
View a list of registered food importers
Food importers must ensure food is safe and suitable
You need to follow New Zealand’s food importing rules. This means that you need to:
- source safe and suitable food
- keep food safe during storage and transportation
- keep good records
- have procedures in place to recall food if it is unsafe or unsuitable, or becomes unsafe or unsuitable.
All imported food consignments are automatically checked at the border
To avoid delays to your consignments, it is important that you:
- are registered as a food importer with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) or are using an MPI-registered food importer
- use the Customs Client Code that is linked with your MPI Food Importer registration
- correctly declare the intended use of the food you are importing.
Find out how to register as a food importer and make your intended use declaration
Food must meet labelling and ingredients requirements
Food for sale in New Zealand must comply with the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code. This sets rules about what’s allowed and not allowed in your food, and how it must be labelled when it comes to be sold.
Find out more about the Code – Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Find the rules for labelling and ingredients (composition)
A guide to food labelling [PDF, 1.1 MB]
Food may need food safety clearance at the border
Some foods present a greater risk to consumers and public health. They're known as foods of high regulatory interest (HRI) or foods of increased regulatory interest (IRI).
These foods require food safety clearance and are monitored for specific hazards. The food notice 'Importing Food' lists which foods require food safety clearance and what is needed for this clearance.
Food Notice: Requirements for Registered Food Importers and Imported Food for Sale (effective 1 August 2023) [PDF, 339 KB]
Food Notice: Importing Food (effective until 1 August 2023) [PDF, 304 KB]
Involved in other food activities?
If your business involves more than just importing food (like storing, transporting, or selling food in a shop) you may need to register under a national programme or food control plan as well.
Find out by using our online tool: My Food Rules
Find out more
Download these guides to learn more about importing.
Before Importing into New Zealand (overview) [PDF, 341 KB]
Meeting requirements as a registered food importer (detail) [PDF, 369 KB]
How to Import Food into New Zealand (overview) [PDF, 394 KB]
Importing Food into New Zealand (details) [PDF, 201 KB]
Step-by-step guidance for specific food types
Find out more about the foods you want to import
Who to contact
If you have questions, contact MPI:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone 0800 00 83 33