Report Highlights: This report outlines regulatory requirements for food and agricultural products exported to New Zealand.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: NZ2017
Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards -
FAIRS Country Report
Joe Carroll, Ag Counselor
Vinita Sharma, Marketing Analyst
This report outlines regulatory requirements for food and agricultural products exported to New
Zealand. The sections on food laws, copyright and trademarks laws have been updated since the last
SECTION I: FOOD LAWS
In New Zealand, they key legislation governing food regulation is the Food Act 1981 (as amended).
The Food Act defines relevant terms, such as, food and sale; outlines prohibitions on sale (including
unfit food); prohibits misleading labeling and advertising; provides powers of enforcement and offences;
and, contains provisions to make regulations and food standards. A new law, replacing the Food Act
1981, is before Parliament. If passed into law, the Food Bill would replace the Food Act 1981 and
introduce some fundamental changes to New Zealand's domestic food regulatory regime. The Food Bill
aims to provide an efficient, effective and risk-based food regulatory regime that manages food safety
and suitability issues, improves business certainty and minimizes compliance costs for business.
Other important legislation and international agreements include:
The Joint Food Standards Treaty, which committed the Australian and New Zealand
Governments to a joint food standards system;
The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act of 1997;
Animal Products Act 1999 and Animal Products Amendment Act 2002;
Wine Act 2003
The Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, which allows products made or imported into New
Zealand that meet New Zealand’s legal requirements, to also be sold in Australia and vice versa.
(Some products are currently exempted from the agreement, including each country’s high-risk
The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and World Trade Organization Agreements; and,
Codex Alimentarius, which is the international body for setting food standards.
Australia New Zealand Joint Food Standards Code
Australia and New Zealand signed an agreement in 1995 that resulted in the formation of a joint food
regulation agency, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), and development of the Australia
New Zealand Food Standards Code (otherwise known as the Code). The Code was adopted in New
Zealand in February 2001 and took full effect in December 2002.
The Code, which is administered by FSANZ, contains requirements relating to food composition,
including foods requiring premarket assessment such as novel foods, irradiated foods and foods
produced using genetic modification. It is broken down into four chapters: general food standards;
commodity standards; food safety standards (Australia only); and primary product and processing
standards (Australia only). Only the chapters on general food standards and commodity standards are
applicable to New Zealand. In New Zealand, the standards in the Code are enforced by the Ministry for
Primary Industries (MPI).
A number of areas are outside the scope of the joint food standards system and are covered under the
New Zealand Food Standards. These include:
• Maximum residue limits of agricultural compounds in food;
• Food hygiene and food safety provisions (including high risk imported foods);
• Export requirements relating to third country trade; and,
• Supplemented food.
The Supplemented Food Standard, which regulates food type dietary supplements came into effect on
March 31, 2010. These foods were previously regulated under the New Zealand Dietary Supplement
Regulations 1985. A supplemented food is defined as a “product that is represented as a food that has a
substance or substances added to it or that has been modified in some way to perform a physiological
role beyond the provision of a simple nutritive requirement.” The standard makes it clear that several
types of products are not supplemented foods. Those products include therapeutic type dietary
supplements, medicines, controlled drugs or restricted substances, formulated meal replacements or
formulated supplementary foods and formulated caffeinated beverages. Most of the regulatory
requirements that apply to food generally under the Food Standards Code also apply to supplemented
food. The main difference is that there are fewer restrictions associated with the use of vitamins,
minerals and bio-active substances in supplemented food. The Supplemented Food Standard does not
permit the addition of substances that are prohibited or restricted in the Food Standards Code or that
have been recognized as having negative health effects when consumed. The Standard also prohibits the
use in supplemented food of any substance that is intended to have an intoxicating effect on any person
who consumes it. Therapeutic claims are not permitted on Supplemented Food.
New Zealand organizations that play key roles in regulating the food supply include: Ministry for
Primary Industries and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). In 2011, the New Zealand
Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ) merged with the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). In April 2012, the Ministry of Fisheries was then merged with
expanded MAF to create the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand organizations that play key roles in regulating the food supply include: Ministry for
Primary Industries, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
Ministry for Primary Industries
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is responsible for food safety in New Zealand. Part of
MPI’s responsibilities is to maximize export opportunities and improve sector productivity whilst
protecting consumers of New Zealand food, whether in New Zealand or overseas. Additionally, MPI
has responsibility to provide effective food regulation for food produced or consumed in New Zealand
including imported and exported food products.
In New Zealand, an estimated 80% of the food produced is exported, providing just over half of the
country’s export earnings. New Zealand often plays a leadership role in international standard setting
bodies, such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the standard setting agency for trade in food) and
the OIE (the international organization for animal health).
The Ministry for Primary Industries administers the following legislation:
Food Act 1981
the Animal Products Act 1999
The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997
The Wine Act 2004
A significant initiative has been the Domestic Food Review which commenced in 2003. It was initiated
to update and stream line New Zealand’s decades-old regulatory program. Among other things, it was
intended to address inequities in the way the food industry is regulated across the country; clarify the
roles of the regulators, the then New Zealand Food Safety Authority (now MPI), Public Health Units
and Local Councils); and stem the continued rise in the number of reported food borne illnesses.
The Domestic Food Review initiated the Food Bill. The Food Bill proposes to move food regulation
from an inspection-based system to a risk-based approach. This means that instead of the responsibility
for food safety being placed on inspectors to find any problems, responsibility is moved to the food
operators and food importers, who must take primary responsibility for providing safe and suitable food.
It aims to improve business certainty and minimize compliance costs for businesses. The Food Bill is
expected to progress through Parliament in early 2013, with enactment before the end of the year. The
Bill includes an 18 month period between enactment and commencement to allow for development of
regulations that will implement the framework established by the Bill. Once the Food Bill is
implemented, it will eventually replace the Food Act 1981 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 and
will amend the Animal Products Act 1999 and the Wine Act 2003.
In concert with the Domestic Food Review, NZFSA implemented the outcomes of the Imported Food
Review, which was completed in 2004. The Imported Food Review covered all imported foods and
beverages, agricultural compounds (including fertilizers and animal feeds), veterinary medicines and pet
foods. Under the new regime, New Zealand is moving away from a system that relies on inspection and
testing as the primary way of ensuring food safety, to a system that includes assessment and recognition
of controls in place overseas that ensures imported food meet or are equivalent to New Zealand’s
standards for domestic food. The new regime categorizes food according to risk; places greater
emphasis on importers in taking steps to ensure food safety; and recognizes exporting country systems
and assurances to ensure they meet or are equivalent to New Zealand’s standards for domestic food.
New Zealand’s objective is to place more responsibility for managing food safety on the importers to
source food from countries that produce and export food that meets the New Zealand standard or
equivalent. Implementation, which will take place in stages over the next five years, will require
increased collaboration among agencies and, in some cases, legislative changes. The new system
formally recognizes the role that the competent authority in exporting countries can be the “risk
manager” for the importing country. Recommendations from the Imported Food Review are being
implemented in the Food Bill. Once the Food Bill is approved by Parliament it will be a new Food Act
and will replace the Food Act 1981.
In April 2009, under the existing Food Act 1981, two standards were implemented relating to imports.
One provides importers with a clear indication of what the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
expects importers to do to ensure the food they import for sale is safe and suitable for human
consumption. The other standard requires importers to provide details such as their company’s trading
name and physical address, a contact person’s name and postal address with MPI. They will also be
required to keep, or have access to, records that show how the products they import for sale comply
with all applicable New Zealand legislation, that their food products have been produced, transported
and stored safely, as well as purchase records and relevant supplier information. This has enabled MPI
to develop a contact database. The database allows MPI to communicate more effectively with all food
importers and to assist importers to prepare for the future imported food regime (to be introduced under
legislation arising from the Food Bill). The database also enhances the ability of MPI to respond to
food incidents and emergencies.
Standards for high risk foods are being reviewed and three - bivalve molluscan shellfish, beef for BSE,
and Roquefort and raw milk extra hard grating cheese - have been issued under the existing Food Act
based on the new imported food regime. This acknowledges that the risks are best managed through the
production and processing stages and therefore requires risks to be managed at origin.
In October 2009, the Minister for Food Safety approved a regulatory framework, which allows both
New Zealand production of some raw milk products and the importation of a similar range of raw milk
products, while maintaining an acceptable level of protection for consumers. Previously, only a small
range of raw milk cheeses have been allowed to be imported into New Zealand, but could not be made
in New Zealand.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), a statutory authority operating under the (Australian
Commonwealth) Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, was established in 2002. FSANZ
develops standards that are contained within the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
FSANZ’s primary objectives are: the protection of public health and safety; provision of adequate
information to consumers to make informed choices; and the prevention of misleading or deceptive
conduct. As such, FSANZ is responsible for setting food standards that govern the content and labeling
of foods sold in both New Zealand and Australia. The standards cover food composition, labeling and
contaminants, including microbiological limits. In New Zealand, MPI enforces these standards.
In March 2008, a standard developed by FSANZ requiring the mandatory replacement of non-iodized
salt with iodized salt in bread was gazetted in New Zealand. FSANZ approved the mandatory
replacement because there is a mild to moderate population-wide iodine deficiency in New Zealand
particularly in new mothers and children’s growth. FSANZ selected bread as the preferred food vehicle
because it is eaten widely and consistently throughout the entire population. All organic bread will be
exempt from mandatory iodine fortification. This standard was implemented in October 2009, which
gave the New Zealand salt industry time to increase production of iodized salt.
The FSANZ board approved a draft food standard for nutrition, health and related claims in March
2008. The standard was notified to the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in
April 2008. Under the standard, health claims relating to nutrients and biologically active substances
can only be made on foods which are considered eligible on the basis of their overall nutrient profile.
The nutrient profile is determined by the Nutrient Profile Scoring Criteria (NPSC), which was
developed by FSANZ. The NPSC takes account of energy, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, protein, fruit,
vegetable, nut and legume content. The review process is due to be finalized by December 2012.
In October 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australia and New Zealand
Food Regulation Ministerial Council (the Ministerial Council) announced a comprehensive review of
food labeling. An independent review panel has been established to:
examine the policy drivers impacting on demands for food labeling;
consider the role for government in the regulation of food labeling;
consider what policies and mechanisms are needed to ensure that government plays its optimum
consider principles and approaches to achieve compliance with labeling requirements, and
appropriate and consistent enforcement;
evaluate current policies, standards and laws relevant to food labeling and existing work on
health claims and front of pack labeling; and,
make recommendations to improve food labeling law and policy.
The report released on January 2011 can be found at
The report contains more than 60 recommendations across a broad range of labeling issues. In
December 2011, the legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation agreed its response to
Labelling Logic, the final report of the independence Panel for the Review of Food Labeling Law and
Policy. The Government response can be found at Governance Forum on Food Regulation response to
the Food Labeling Law and Policy Review.
Biosecurity in New Zealand
New Zealand has strict biosecurity rules. Goods with the potential to harbor organisms, organic
material, or other things that may cause unwanted harm to natural and physical resources or human
health in New Zealand cannot be imported into New Zealand unless an import health standard has been
Import Health Standards are put in place to manage the import of risk items into New Zealand that pose
a biosecurity threat. These standards include the requirements that must be undertaken in the exporting
country, during transit and during importation, before biosecurity clearance can be given. The standards
exist in order to mitigate the risks associated with bringing items into New Zealand.
Briefly, the process for developing import health standards is as follows:
1. Every year, around December, MPI invites applications or reconfirmations of requests for import
health standard work for the year starting next June, along with an indication of whether applicants
would be willing to fund the work.
2. MPI compiles a list of all the “live” requests for import health standard work for the coming year.
3. MPI officials pre-screen the requests using a set of prioritization criteria. The pre-screen identifies
those requests that clearly will not be prioritized high enough to be progressed during the year. The
prioritization criteria include: strategic fit with the New Zealand Government’s goals, net benefit for
New Zealand, technical difficulty of the work, acceptability of the result for New Zealanders, and
the availability of suitable resources.
4. Once MPI has a prioritized list of requests, the Crown-funded resources are matched to the highest
priority items to form the Crown-funded portion of the work program.
5. The remaining applicants who indicated that they would be prepared to fund their application will
then, in priority order and provided suitable contracted or staff resources are available, be invited to
consider funding development of their standard.
6. The import health standard development work program is then finalized, comprising both Crown and
privately funded resources.
7. Applicants are then advised of the result for their application and the prioritized list of all requests
and the annual work program published on the MPI website.
Requests for the development of new import health standards can be submitted to MPI at any time,
although MPI prefers official requests to be submitted via agreed official channels. Requests are
reviewed at the time of receipt in case they can be covered within the existing work program. If not, the
request is held until the next round of prioritization and work program update.
In September 2012, amendments were made to the Biosecurity Act under the “The Biosecurity Law
Reform Bill 2012”. The amendments are relevant across the whole of the biosecurity system, and are
the most significant change to the Biosecurity Act since 1997.
Key amendments include:
improving powers to gather information and use it for risk profiling so as to ensure that resources are
allocated according to the level of risk;
adding a new duty that requires importers to ensure that their goods comply with the applicable
improving the compliance and enforcement options for dealing with non-compliance at the border
improving the tools for dealing with the biosecurity risks that are presented by craft;
adding a new part to the Biosecurity Act to provide the legal framework for Government-Industry
Agreement for readiness and response (GIA);
adding new provisions relating to the FarmsOnLine database to support incursion responses; and
adding new provisions that allow the Biosecurity Act to be used to manage biosecurity risks in the
Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Biosecurity Law Reform Bill 2012 also amended provisions around import health standard review.
Previously, the section 22A independent review provision was available for any submitter to trigger
where, in their view, MPI had not given adequate consideration of the relevant science.
Under section 24 of the amended Act, those consulted during the development of an import health
standard can request a review to determine whether MPI gave sufficient regard to significant scientific
concerns raised during the consultation process. If this happens, the Director-General must ensure a
process is in place to establish an independent review panel to address the issue.
Requests must be made in writing to the Director-General and must: (a) identify the part of the person’s
submission that explains the person’s significant concern with the Chief technical officer’s consideration
of the scientific evidence; (b) explain why the person considers that there has been insufficient regard to
the scientific evidence; and, (c) include any additional scientific information related to the concern that
was not provided to the chief technical officer during consultation.
SECTION II: LABELING REQUIREMENTS
Food sold in New Zealand must be labeled in accordance with the Australia New Zealand Food
Standards Code (otherwise known as the Code). The Code is available online at the FSANZ website:
Food Labeling Requirements
Most food for sale in New Zealand must be clearly labeled in English (other languages can be used in
addition to English, as long as they do not contradict the information). Specific health and safety
information about some food products must be given to consumers even when a complete label is not
required (for example the presence of caffeine or allergenic substances). Additional labeling statements
may be required under the individual food product standards specified in the Code. (See Standard 1.2.2
- 1.2.10 of the Food Code for specifics.)
Labels must include the following information:
The name of the food: Food products must be accurately named and/or described on the label.
If a name is specified for the food in the Food Standards Code then this name must be used.
Lot identification: This is information that clearly indicates the premises where the food was
packaged and/or prepared and the batch from which it came, to assist should there be a food
recall. A date mark and supplier’s address may be sufficient.
Name and address: The supplier's name and business (street) address in New Zealand or
Australia. (Note: “Supplier” includes packer, manufacturer, vendor or importer of the food.)
Mandatory warning statements, advisory statements and declarations for certain
ingredients/substances: Some products must have special advisory and warning statements
about the food or ingredients/substances in a food (e.g. food containing unpasteurized egg must
advise/state that the product contains unpasteurized egg and foods containing royal jelly must
include a specific warning statement). This information must be available even where a
complete label is not required. Warning statements must appear on labels on 3mm type (1.5mm
for small packages).
Mandatory declaration of certain ingredients/substances: The presence of common food
allergens and food/ingredients that commonly cause food intolerances (e.g. peanuts, gluten)
must be declared on food labels, or where a complete label is not required, the information must
be available to the consumer.
Ingredient list: All ingredients must be listed by their common name, a description or, where
specified in the Food Standards Code, the generic name, in descending order of in-going
weight. Ingredients are any substances used in the preparation, manufacture and handling of a
food and include food additives, compound ingredients (any ingredient that is itself made up of
two or more ingredients), and added water.
Food additives: The class name of the additive (where specified in the Food Standards Code)
followed by the additive’s specific name or code number must be declared. Where the additive
is a vitamin or mineral the class name “vitamin” or “mineral” may be used.
Date marking: Most packaged foods with a shelf life of less than two years must have one of
the following date marks:
o “Use By” dates, which relate to food safety. Foods with a “Use By” date should not be
consumed after the date indicated for health and safety reasons. Food cannot be sold
beyond their “Use By” date.
o “Best Before” dates, which relate to quality. Foods should be consumed by their “Best
Before” date to ensure quality. Foods can be sold beyond their “Best Before” date
provided it is still fit for consumption.
o “Baked On” and “Baked For” dates can be used for breads with a shelf life of less than
Directions for use and storage: Storage instructions must be provided where necessary to
ensure that the food will keep for the period indicated by the date mark and/or where the
consumer should be aware of any storage and use requirements necessary to ensure the food
Percentage labeling: The percentage of the characterizing ingredients, and/or components of
most food products must be indicated on the label.
Net content is required under the Weights and Measures Regulations 1999.
Nutrition Labeling Requirement
The nutritional information panel (NIP) must be set out specifically as shown below and is required on
most packaged food products. Where average quantities or minimum/maximum quantities are given this
must be indicated in the NIP.
Example of a Blank Nutrition Information Panel
Labeling Requirements for Food Produced using Gene Technology
Genetically modified ingredients and foods can only be sold in New Zealand if they have been assessed
for safety and approved by FSANZ. New Zealand and Australia have one of the most comprehensive
labeling regimes for genetically modified (GM) foods in the world. As of December 2001, wherever a
GM ingredient, additive or processing aid is present in the final food, the food must be labeled. A
typical ingredient list for a food containing a GM ingredient is as follows:
Ingredients: wheat flour, water added, yeast, soya flour (genetically modified), vegetable oil, sugar,
emulsifiers (471, 472E), preservative (282), enzyme amylase.
Where ingredients derived from GM plants - such as sugars, oils and some GM additives and processing
aids - have been refined to the extent that there is no residual genetic material or protein of the source
plant in the final product, and the product does not have altered characteristics, special labeling is not
required. Another exemption to the labeling requirements in processed foods are GM flavors, which are
allowed to be present up to a level of one part in a thousand in the final food without being identified as
GM. Foods prepared from GM ingredients, additives and processing aids, but sold unlabeled at the
point of sale for immediate consumption - e.g. restaurants, hotels and take-outs - are also exempt from
MPI is responsible for the enforcement of GM food labeling standards in New Zealand. For additional
information, review Standard 1.5.2. This standard regulates the sale of genetically modified foods in
Australia and New Zealand and was incorporated into the Food Standards Code on May 13, 1999 and
amended on December 7, 2000.
SECTION III: PACKAGING AND CONTAINER REQUIREMENTS
Food Packaging Materials
Under the New Zealand Food Act of 1981, packaging material must not cause food to be unsafe or
tainted. In addition, specific requirements in the Code, which relate to contaminants, must also be met
(Standard 1.4.3 Articles and Materials in Contact with Food). It is the responsibility of food
manufacturers and sellers to ensure their products are safe and that they comply with legislation. In
practice, packaging suppliers will need to ensure their products are suitable for the intended use.
Compliance with recognized international food standards such as those of the European Union (EU) or
the United States Food and Drug Administration would be reasonable evidence that materials are
suitable for food use.
The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council is working with FSANZ to liaise
with the industry to voluntarily phase out Bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical used in the plastics industry
in baby bottles and food containers. As per a FSANZ report, BPA exposure in New Zealand and
Australia is well below the internationally established safe levels and poses no significant human health
risk, however, FSANZ will continue to liaise with the industry to provide alternative packaging material
such as stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastics, and to be consistent with approaches taken by
governments from other countries, including U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Wood Packaging Materials Used for Shipping Products to New Zealand
Under the Biosecurity Act (1993) importers must comply with an Import Health Standard (IHS) that
outlines phytosanitary requirements for wood packaging material to be given biosecurity clearance into
New Zealand. The IHS for Wood Packaging Material from All Countries has been developed under the
requirements of the Biosecurity Act (1993) and New Zealand’s obligations under the International Plant
Protection Convention (1997). Wood packaging that is treated and certified as per “International
Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15 standard” will be compliant with the New Zealand
Import Health Standard for Sea Containers
This Import Health Standard covers only the shipping containers and does not include the contents
which can be categorized as either “High Risk” or “Low Risk” goods. Import Health Standard on sea
containers can be seen at: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/imports/non-organic/standards/seaco.htm
For High Risk goods containing any risk material (i.e.of plant or animal origin, used vehicles,
machinery etc), please see the appropriate Import Health Standard at
Low risk goods may be released and the container may be given approval to move to Approved
Transitional Facility (ATF), as long as the requirements are met as per the import health
From September 1, 2003 onwards, every imported container must be delivered to a Biosecurity
“Approved Transitional Facility” (ATF) within New Zealand and be inspected by a MPI Inspector or a
trained “Accredited Person” (AP). All containers must have a Quarantine Declaration (a document
signed by a manager of the packing or exporter facility that declares; that a container was inspected
internally and externally and was found to be free of contaminants, and the type of packing materials
and wood packaging used and information pertaining to the container number, Ship and voyage number
it is shipped on). Failure to provide a Quarantine declaration will result in extra biosecurity
requirements and costs.
Only ISPM15 (an international packaging standard) compliant packaging is allowed entry into New
Zealand and any non-compliant packaging (timber etc) will be required to be treated either overseas, to
New Zealand standards with approved methods; or inspected and treated in New Zealand
(Fumigation with methyl bromide gas) prior to release of the container by the New Zealand Biosecurity
Officer. If treated overseas, the original Fumigation certificate must be produced prior to release.
In addition to the above, some containers are deemed to be "high risk" (regardless of the contents).
These must be subjected to either:
Six-sided external inspection on the port area by an inspector within 48 hours of discharge,
Treated wither fumigated with methyl bromide or heat treated
Be accompanied by an official phytosanitary certificate attesting to the container's freedom from
Inspection under Biosecurity supervision at an ATF
To expedite clearance, additional certification of containers as free from restricted packaging and free
of contamination of either the external or internal surfaces of the container or both is an option. In
certain circumstances, certification may cover multiple arrivals of containers for periods of up to one
Import Health Standard for Air Containers
Air containers used for the import of food products into New Zealand must meet a minimum standard of
cleanliness. All parts of the container including the internal and external sides must be free of
contamination. Every container must also be free of any of the following:
Animals, insects or other invertebrates (any life cycle stage), egg casings or rafts, or any organic
material of animal origin (including blood, bones, fiber, meat, secretions, excretions, etc);
Plants or plant products (including fruit, seeds, leaves, twigs, roots, bark, saw dust, or other
organic material); or
Soil or water
For additional information, see the MPI import health standard: Air Containers from any Country (MAF
Regulatory Authority 152.07.01I).
SECTION IV: FOOD ADDITVE REGULATIONS
FSANZ is responsible for the development and modification of food standards in the Food Standards
Code. The section of the code that governs food additives, Standard 1.3.1, has been in force for several
years. It was developed on the basis of food additive provisions from the former Australia Food
Standards Code and the former New Zealand Food Regulations, 1984. The Code addresses additives in
two ways. Some additives have specific permissions and levels allowed in food; others are permitted at
levels determined by GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). Information regarding permitted use of
food additives is listed in Schedule 1, of Standard 1.31. of the Code. A list of miscellaneous additives
permitted in accordance with GMP in processed foods is listed in Schedule 2 of Standard 1.3.1.
Information regarding applications for the approval of new food additive is available here.
Special note should be taken for additives that are genetically modified. For more information on the
declaration of genetically modified ingredients see FSANZ labelling guideline.
SECTION V: PESTICIDES AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS
Contaminants and Natural Toxicants
FSANZ sets standards for the maximum levels (MLs) of specified metal and non-metal contaminants
and natural toxicants in nominated foods. Information on Contaminants and natural Toxicants can be
seen in Standard 1.4.1 of the Code.
Pesticide Residues and Chemical Contaminants
The upper limit of agricultural and veterinary chemical residue allowed in a food is known as the
Maximum Residue Limit (MRL). FSANZ sets MRLs for Australia only, and these are in the Code.
MPI has responsibility for setting and enforcing MRLs in New Zealand. All imported and
domestically-produced food sold in New Zealand (except for food imported from Australia) must
comply with the New Zealand (Maximum Residue Limits of Agricultural Compounds) Food Standards
(the MRL Standards). Under MRL Standards, agricultural compound residues in food must:
Comply with the specific MRLs listed in the MRL Standard (including the "default" MRL of 0.1
mg/kg where no specific MRL is listed; note that updates to this standard were made in 2010), or
If the food is imported, it may comply with Codex MRLs.
FSANZ sets microbiological limits for foods in both countries (see Standard 1.6.1).
SECTION VI: OTHER REGULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Foods covered by emergency or prescribed food standards are targeted for inspection using customs
tariff codes. From September 1, 2009, Central Clearing House (CCH), part of MPI, is now responsible
for processing applications for all high risk foods imported into New Zealand as referred from New
Zealand Customs. Prior to CCH, Auckland Central Clearing House (ACCH) used to handle high risk
foods imported into New Zealand. CCH is also the initial contact point for information to importers and
customs brokers. CCH is the part of the MPI that carries out the imports operational procedures. For
more information on CCH, please see New Zealand’s food import clearance procedures.
http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/importing/fees-and-charges/ - P109_3063
Trade/product samples will be subject to the same requirements as imported food for sale unless there is
sufficient evidence that the samples will not be consumed.
Specific documentation and certification requirements
Please refer to FAIRS Export Certificates Report for specific import certification requirement for
products entering New Zealand. This can be seen at:
SECTION VII: OTHER SPECIFIC STANDARDS
There are two major organic certifying agencies in New Zealand for the certification of locally produced
organic products, BioGro and AsureQuality New Zealand. Both agencies are accredited by
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
In New Zealand, there is no official standard set for organic food products. Products certified by the
National Organics Program (NOP) in the United States can be exported to New Zealand and sold as
organic. Further information on importing organic products can be found here:
http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/industry/sectors/organics/importing/index.htm. There are no mandatory
labeling requirements for organic products imported into New Zealand, although the use of the term
‘organic’ is controlled through the Fair Trading Act 1986.
There are mandatory labeling requirements for products are intended to be further processed in New
Zealand and re-exported.
The MPI Technical Rules under Section 12 (Imported Product and/or Ingredient) details the
requirements for organic products/ingredients imported into New Zealand for further processing and re-
exported (refer http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/nzfsa-standard-registration-
SECTION VII: COPYRIGHT AND/OR TRADEMARK LAWS
The Patents Act 1953 ("the Act") governs patents in New Zealand.
Protection is provided to registered trademarks through the Trademarks Act 2002. The registration of
trademarks is not essential. Owners of trademarks may rely on common law rights to protect their
trademarks. As the rights of owners of registered trademarks are statutorily defined, however,
registration is often desirable. Unlike other forms of intellectual property, such as patents and designs,
trade mark registrations can be renewed indefinitely, thereby providing owners with the exclusive right
to use their trade marks in perpetuity. Information on the Trade Marks Act is available at: Trademarks
As a member of the World Trade Organization, New Zealand is a party to the Agreement on Trade-
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 1994 (the TRIPS agreement).
All of the obligations relating to trade marks imposed under the TRIPS agreement have been
incorporated into the Act. These obligations include those in Article 15(1) of the TRIPS agreement,
which states that “signs, in particular words including names, letters, numerals, figurative elements and
combinations of colors as well as combinations of such signs, shall be eligible for registration as trade
The Copyright Act 1994 governs copyright law in New Zealand. These rights allow copyright owners
to control certain activities relating to the use and dissemination of copyright works. New Zealand is
party to various international agreements, including:
The Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS
Agreement) (Annex 1C to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO)
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1928 (Rome Act
The Universal Copyright Convention 1952.
For a "work" or type of material to qualify for copyright protection, four conditions must generally be
It must fall within one of the categories or subject matter in which copyright can exist;
It must be sufficiently "original";
The "author" must be a "qualified person"; and
Certain works must be fixed either in writing or some other material form.
Copyright protection applies only for a limited period of time (mostly lasting 15-50 years). Once
copyright expires, it falls into the ‘public domain’ and can be freely used.
On February 23, 2010, Commerce Minister Simon Power introduced the Copyright (Infringing File
Sharing) Amendment into Parliament, repealing Section 92A of the Copyright Act. The bill puts in
place a three-notice regime intended to deter illegal file sharing. The amendment was passed in April
2011, coming into force in July 2011. The first notices under this amendment were issued in November
2011, pertaining primarily to illegal downloads of music files.
APPENDIX I: GOVERNMENT REGULATORY AGENCY CONTACTS
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
PO Box 10559
Fax: (+64)-4-473 9855
Environmental Protection Authority
Private Bag 63002Wellington 6140
Phone: (+64)-4-916 2426
Fax: (+64)-4-914 0433
New Zealand Customs Service
(Wellington, Corporate Office)
PO Box 2218
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: (+64)-4-473 6099
Fax: (+64)-4-473 7370
Ministry of Consumer Affairs
PO Box 1473
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: (+64)-4-474 2750
Fax: (+64)-4-473 9400
New Zealand Commerce Commission
PO Box 2351
Phone: (+64)-4-924 3600
Fax: (+64)-4-924 3700
Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand
PO Box 30 687
Phone: (+64)-4-569 4400
Fax: (+64)-4-569 2298
Plant Variety Rights Office
PO Box 24
Phone: (+64)-3-325 2414
Fax: (+64)-3-325 2946
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Phone: (+64)-4-496 2000
Fax: (+64)-4-496 2340
Central Clearing House
Ministry for Primary Industries
Level 1, 96 New North Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland
PO Box 3540, Eden Terrace, Auckland
Phone: (+64) 9 909 6210 or (+64) 9 909 6211
Fax: (+64) 9 909 6208
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10420
Phone: (+64)-4-471 0726
Fax: (+64)-4-471 1082
Auckland Regional Public Health Service
Cornwall Complex, Floor 2
Building 15, Greenlane Clinical Centre
Private Bag 92605
SPS & TBT Contacts
Coordinator, SPS New Zealand
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Phone: (+64)-4-474 4226
Fax: (+64)-4-470 2730
TBT Enquiry Point
Trade Negotiations Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Private Bag 18 901
Phone: (+64)-4-439 8000
Fax: (+64)-4-472 9596
APPENDIX II: OTHER IMPORT SPECIALIST CONTACTS
Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
PO Box 1190
Phone: (+64)-4-462 6030
Fax: (+64)-4-462 6016
American Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 106 002
Phone: (+64)-9-309 9140
Fax: (+64)-9-309 1090
New Zealand Grocery Marketers Association
PO Box 1925
Phone: (+64)-4-473 9223
Fax: (+64)-4-496 6550
Intellectual Property Policy Group
Regulatory and Competition Policy Branch
Ministry of Economic Development
33 Bowen Street, PO Box 1473
Wellington, New Zealand