Steps to importing fungi for growing

If you want to import edible fungi for growing – such as truffles and mushrooms – you need to meet biosecurity and phytosanitary requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

Expand All
What you need to know

An overview of importing fungi for growing from start to finish.

Types of fungi for growing

This import process covers:

  • truffles (Tuber sp) for propagation
  • mushroom spawn for propagation.
Importing related products

For processes to import related products refer to:

To import fungi to grow you need to know about:

  • the fungi species you're importing and if it's approved for import
  • the import health standard (IHS) for your type of fungi
  • complying with the IHS requirements
  • getting a phytosanitary certificate for truffles
  • arranging fungi identification testing, if needed
  • New Zealand Customs Service tariffs and permits
  • using a customs broker
  • relevant fees and charges.

More details are in Step 2 – What you need to do.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Check that your fungi species can be imported

Only certain species of edible fungi can be imported.

Truffle species approved for import

Approved truffle species are listed in part 2.1 of the import health standard (IHS). They are:

  • Tuber aestivum Vittad (Burgundy/Summer truffle)
  • Tuber borchii (bianchetto)
  • Tuber magnatum (Italian white truffle)
  • Tuber melanosporum (Périgord black truffle).

Note, powdered truffle inocula are not covered by this IHS. There is no IHS for these products.

Check Part 2.1 of the IHS for truffles [PDF, 545 KB]

Fungi and mushroom spawn species approved for import

Not all fungi and mushroom spawn species can be imported. Check the list of scientific names to find out if your species is approved.

Scientific names of edible fungi species approved for import
  Agaricus augustus   Flammulina velutipes/Flammulina filiformis   Pleurotus ostreatus*1
  Agaricus bisporus   Hypholoma sublateritium   Pleurotus pulmonarius*
  Agaricus bitorquis   Lactarius deliciosus   Stropharia rugosoannulata
  Auricularia polytricha   Lentinula edodes   Trametes versicolor
  Boletus edulis   Macrolepiota rachodes   Tremella fuciformis
  Calvatia cyathiformis   Marasmius oreades   Tricholoma matsutake
  Cantharellus cibarius   Morchella esculenta   Volvariella volvacea
  Coprinus comatus   Morchella importuna  
  Dictyophora indusiata  Pleurotus djamor/Pleurotus opuntiae*  

* Pleurotus djamor/Pleurotus opuntiae, Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus pulmonarius are allowed for import only if the consignments are identified by DNA sequencing as the correct species.

1It is recommended that importers of Pleurotus ostreatus mushroom spawn should contact the MPI Plant Health and Environment Laboratory ( to discuss the identity of species they intend to import prior to export from the country of origin.

Species not yet approved for import

If your fungi species is not approved for import, you can apply to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have it approved.

If EPA approves your application, you'll then need to ask MPI to develop an IHS for the species.

Check other agencies' import restrictions

Check with the New Zealand Customs Service whether:

  • you can import the product without restriction
  • the product will be subject to duties or tariffs
  • a NZ Customs permit is needed.

Visit the NZ Customs website to:

Consider using a customs broker

A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.

Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.

Visit the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation website

Comply with IHS requirements for your species

Requirements for fungi imports include:

  • an import permit
  • a phytosanitary certificate (for truffles)
  • a manufacturer's certificate for mushroom spawn or cultures
  • a species identification test for truffles and for Pleurotus sp.

Book space for identification testing, if required

Tuber sp. and Pleurotus sp. must be tested at MPI's Plant Health and Environment Laboratory in Auckland on arrival to confirm they are approved for import.

To book identification testing, email the mycology and bacteriology team:

We recommend you contact the laboratory before applying for an import permit.

Apply for an import permit

An import permit is required for all truffles and mushroom spawn.

An importer questionnaire has to be completed for new import permits for mushroom spawn. 

The application form for mushroom spawn also covers biological products, microorganisms and cell cultures.

Meet phytosanitary requirements, if required

All truffles (Tuber sp.) need a phytosanitary certificate.

To apply for a certificate you or your supplier should contact the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the country of origin. You'll find contact details on the International Plants Protection Convention (IPPC) website.

If you have questions about phytosanitary certificates, contact the export agent or your NPPO contact.

Get a manufacturer's certificate

If you're importing mushroom spawn or cultures, request a certificate from the supplier or manufacturer that verifies the purity of the spawn or culture.

For fungi spawn imported on logs or other substrate like straw or cereal grain, the manufacturer's certificate must state that the substrate:

  • has been autoclaved under pressure at a minimum temperature of 100 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes
  • has not been contaminated prior to or after inoculation.

Check packaging and labelling requirements

Correct packaging and labelling will help ensure that your consignment is quickly identified and processed by border clearance when it arrives in New Zealand.

The packaging must be clean and free from soil, pests, and other contaminants.

If you're transporting your fungi using growing media or packaging such as wood crates, there are extra requirements or restrictions to ensure there are no hidden pests or diseases. Refer to the import requirements for:

Meet extra requirements for truffles

All truffles must be:

  • clearly labelled with the scientific name (genus and species)
  • packed in clear, clean and new material.

If you're importing more than one truffle species at a time, each must be packaged separately.

Arrange transitional storage, if required

MPI approves transitional facilities to hold and manage imported goods that might pose a biosecurity risk. These goods may need to be inspected or treated at the transitional facility before they can be cleared by MPI.

You or your customs broker need to arrange for the transfer of your goods to a transitional facility, before they arrive in New Zealand.

Submit all required documentation

You or your customs broker need to make sure that all the necessary documentation is submitted to NZ Customs or MPI before your consignment arrives in New Zealand.

Documentation may include:

  • a manufacturer's certificate
  • a phytosanitary certificate
  • an import permit
  • a purchase invoice
  • a bill of lading or air waybill.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

An MPI inspector will check your documentation and may inspect the consignment when it arrives in New Zealand, to make sure it complies with the IHS. The inspector checks that:

  • the consignment is as described in the documentation
  • correct labelling is used, if required
  • the consignment and packaging are free of contaminants (detritus, soil, bacteria, disease, and pests).

The MPI quarantine inspector may issue a Biosecurity Authority Clearance Certificate (BACC) requiring:

  • documentation be corrected
  • the consignment be treated
  • the consignment be moved to a transitional facility, to be held for inspection.
If your consignment does not comply

If contamination (such as live organisms) is found on your consignment, an MPI inspector will explain your options. Depending on the type of pest or disease found, you may:

  • treat your product (for example, by fumigation)
  • identify the organism (and treat it if it's a regulated pest)
  • ship the product to another destination country
  • destroy the product.

All treatments have to be done by an approved treatment provider at a transitional facility. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.

Getting your import documents

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

An MPI inspector will issue clearance

Check that you or your customs broker have complied with the conditions listed in the IHS for all pre-shipment, transit, and on-arrival tasks.

Your fungi for growing will be cleared for entry into New Zealand when you have had your products and documents inspected and given clearance by an MPI inspector.

If your goods do not comply with the IHS, they won't be cleared until you have complied, or have been given permission to make an 'equivalence import'.

Who to contact

If you have questions about importing fungi, email

Last reviewed: