Food importing requirements

All food imported for sale in New Zealand must be safe, fit for human consumption, uncontaminated, and imported through a registered importer.

All food must be imported by a registered food importer

If you want to import food for sale in New Zealand, you must register as a food importer with MPI or use an agent who is registered. 

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 

All food importers are responsible for meeting the food safety requirements as set under the Food Act 2014. These include:

  • confirming the safety and suitability of food they will be importing
  • ensuring safe handling, storing and transporting of food
  • keeping good records for traceability
  • being prepared to recall food if it is not safe or suitable.

Learn more about food importers' responsibilities

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)

Read MPI's 'A Guide to Food Labelling [PDF, 343 KB]

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.

Read the Food Notice: Importing Food [PDF, 583 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 more

Download these guides to learn more about importing.

Step by step guidance for specific food types

Find out more about the foods you want to import 

Who to contact

If you have any questions, contact MPI Approvals:

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