All food for sale must be imported by a registered food importer
Your food imports will be held at the border if you are not:
- registered as a food importer with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), or
- working with an MPI-registered food importer who is managing food safety for you and importing on your behalf.
Registered food importers must:
- have a New Zealand Customs client code. If you don't have one, you can apply for a code at the same time as your registration.
- be an individual or company resident of New Zealand (as defined by the Income Tax Act 2007)
For definition of an individual, See section YD1 of the Income Tax Act 2007 – NZ Legislation
For definition of a company, see section YD2 of the Income Tax Act 2007 – NZ Legislation
Customs client codes – NZ Customs Service
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 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.
Consignments imported by an unregistered food importer will be held.
Find out how to get your consignment released from an MPI non-registration hold
Your responsibilities as a registered food importer
Registered importers are responsible for the safety and suitability of food imported into New Zealand.
This means 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.
Any food importer may be independently verified. Your verifier could visit your business to check you are:
- following good food safety practices
- meeting your legal obligations.