The Food Regulations 2015 requires persons wishing to import food for sale in New Zealand, to meet the requirements of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for food importing and safety. These requirements include registering with MPI as a food importer (or using a registered importer), safely sourcing and handling food before export, and meeting specific requirements for foods identified as presenting a higher risk to consumers.

Food must be imported through a registered importer. Registered importers must:

  • pay a fee to register
  • renew the registration each year
  • keep or have access to records to show where food has come from and that it’s safe
  • get food safety clearance for foods of high regulatory interest.

A person can become a registered importer or use an agent who is a registered importer.

Registration for food importers began 1 March 2016 and all food importers must be registered by 30 June 2017. Registered importers will be recorded in a public database. Prior to 1 March 2016, importers were listed with MPI but could not be searched by the public.

Applications to be a registered food importer must use one of the forms listed below. Applicants should choose the form and follow the instructions that match their situation. Note that these applications are made through the New Zealand Customs Service (NZ Customs), using their process for assigning client codes and registering to use the Trade Single Window.

  • New food importers that weren’t previously listed with MPI and who don’t have a customs client code should apply using the customs form 224 – ticking the ‘Yes’ box for Food Importer.
  • Food importers that weren’t previously listed with MPI and who don’t have a customs client code should apply using the customs form 224 – ticking the ‘Yes’ box for Food Importer.
  • Food importers that weren’t previously listed with MPI but who have a customs client code should update their information using customs form 225 -– ticking the ‘Yes’ box for Food Importer.
  • Food importers who are listed with MPI and have a client code, but who haven’t registered for Trade Single Window need to re-apply using customs form 225.

Note, that Customs will notify MPI when they receive an application. The applicant will then be contacted by MPI to request payment of the fee (NZ$133.69 including GST for new applications).