Register as a food importer

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

Requirements to register

A food importer must:

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Obligations of a registered food importer

What you need to do if you are a registered food importer

Source safe and suitable food

You need to check and make sure that the food you are planning to import is safe and suitable.

This might include checking with the supplier and/or manufacturer of the food that they operate under a safe food programme, as appropriate for their country. 

You will also need to ensure the food is permitted in NZ and meets our compositional and labelling requirements. 

Keep food safe

You need to ensure the imported food is safe during storage and transportation.

This includes ensuring it is kept at the right temperature, protected from pests and kept away from other products which might contaminate it.

Keep good records

You will need to keep and have easy access to records, which show that you have done your best to source, transport, and store food correctly so that it is safe and suitable.

You will also need to keep records of what the food is, where it came from, and who you sold it to. These will be important if a recall is ever required.

Recall unsafe or unsuitable food

You will need to have procedures in place to be able to recall any food you have sold, if it is or becomes unsafe or unsuitable.

You will need to notify MPI of the decision to recall and carry out the recall as per your procedures. Records must be kept of your recall actions.

Develop your food recall plan

How to register – I already have a Customs client code

1. Download the form

Customs NZCS 224 application to the Trade Single Window system – Customs' website

2. Fill in the form

  • Page 1 – Tick the 'Yes' box under 'Is this an update?', because you already have a Customs client code.
  • Page 1 – Tick the 'Yes' box under 'Do you import food for sale?'.
  • Page 3 – Complete the food importer section, including payment details.
  • Fill in any other sections where you wish to update your details with New Zealand Customs.

Your registration won’t be completed until the fee has been paid. The cost is $116.44 (including GST).

3. Send the completed form to New Zealand Customs

Email: clientupdate.request@customs.govt.nz

It may take up to 20 working days to process your application. If you haven’t provided the necessary information and paid the fee, it may take longer.

 

How to register – I need a Customs client code

1. Download the form

Customs NZCS 224 application to the Trade Single Window system – Customs' website

2. Fill in the form

  • Complete all sections of the form.

  • Page 1 - Where it states 'Which client codes do you need?' make sure you select all that apply. 

    To import food you will need to select 'Importer' or 'Importer/Exporter'.
  • Page 1 – Tick the 'Yes' box under 'Do you import food for sale?'.

  • Page 3 – Complete the food importer section, including payment details.

Your registration won’t be completed until the fee has been paid. The cost is $116.44 (including GST).

3. Compile the necessary documentation

The documentation you will need to attach if you are:

An individual

  • photo ID

A registered company

  • trading name
  • the company’s certificate of incorporation
  • list of directors
  • photo ID for each director

A partnership or sole traders

  • trading name
  • list of all sole traders or partners
  • photo ID for each sole trader or employee

Other organisations 

  • list of all trustees or relevant individuals
  • a copy of the certificate for registered trusts/societies/charities must supply
  • schools, sports clubs, and similar must supply a letterhead of the organisation. 

4. Send the completed form and documentation to New Zealand Customs

Email: clientcodes@customs.govt.nz

It may take up to 20 working days to process your application. If you haven’t provided all necessary documentation and paid the fee, it may take longer.

Renewing your registration

Renewing your registration

Your registration needs to be renewed annually.

Renewal reminders are emailed to your email contact before the expiry date and contain all the information you need to renew your registration.

The cost for renewal is $77.63 (incl. GST)

Failure to renew

If you fail to renew your registration before the expiry date, your registration will be cancelled.

If you wish to reinstate a cancelled food importer registration, you would have to apply for a new registration and pay the full fee.

Importing food without an active food registration may result in enforcement action. This could include an infringement fee of $450 and/or clearance of your imported food may be withheld.

Updating your registration

You will need to ensure your details with MPI and Customs are kept up to date. This will ensure you receive notifications and your annual reminder to renew your registration.

Minor changes

Minor changes to your food importer registration (such as contact information) can be made by contacting the MPI Approvals Team.

Significant changes

If you have any significant changes to make against your food importer registration (such as change in company name) you may also need to update your Customs Client code information using the 224 form.

You do not need to pay the initial registration fee again to do this.

Customs NZCS 224 – Client Registration Application – NZ Customs Website

If you need help, contact MPI Approvals:

List of registered importers

Once MPI approves your application, we will add you to the register of food importers, which is publicly available.

Who to contact

If you have any questions, contact MPI Approvals:

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