Infant formula

Under New Zealand law, only registered exporters can export dairy products, including milk powder and infant formula.  

Infant formula and milk powder are covered by the Animal Products Act 1999 because they are dairy products. The Act also applies to online sales of infant formula and milk powder.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that anyone involved in the production, processing, distribution and sale of animal products – including infant formula – understands their responsibility to ensure the product is fit for its intended purpose.

MPI and the New Zealand Customs Service have taken action to stop unlawful exports of infant formula from New Zealand to China, and potentially other markets. This action is about enforcing the law – no laws have been changed.

There is no need for alternative export pathways, as New Zealand’s legal exports are readily available in China and other markets. It is vital that anyone who exports infant formula complies with the law, or stops trading.

Read MPI's factsheet outlining the process for legally exporting infant formula to China:

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about unlawful exporting of infant formula to China:

Travelling overseas with infant formula

MPI has had a number of enquiries from people wanting to know about the rules for taking personal consignments of infant formula when travelling overseas:

  • You do not need to be a registered exporter if the infant formula is in the luggage directly accompanying you on a flight and is solely for personal (e.g. for your infant) or non-commercial use.
  • The product must not be sold and should be part of your checked luggage or hand luggage.
  • As with all other personal effects, you should be aware that any infant formula you are carrying will also be subject to the importing country’s customs and quarantine requirements.

Registering as an exporter

If you are involved in dairy exports and are not a registered exporter or don't have an MPI-registered risk management programme (RMP) and have questions about how to become registered, contact MPI Approvals:

Email: approvals@mpi.govt.nz

If you are a registered exporter and have queries, contact the MPI Dairy Certification Unit:

Email: dairy.certification@mpi.govt.nz

You can also phone MPI on 0800 00 83 33.

Requirement to register with Chinese authorities

All manufacturers of infant formula wishing to export to China, or to produce products for export to China by another exporter, must be registered with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Find out more about the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) and how to register with AQSIQ:

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