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New Zealand


New Zealand regulations

General requirements for import

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Sets legal requirements for the safe handling of primary production and processing of foodstuffs.

The Code is a collection of food standards that are designed to:

  • ensure that food is safe and suitable for human consumption;
  • prevent misleading conduct associated with the sale of food;
  • provide adequate information to enable consumers to make an informed choice and;
  • provide an effective regulatory framework within which the food industry can work efficiently.

Relevant sections:
Chapter 3 - Standard 3.2.2 of the Code, “Food safety practices and general requirements”, information is provided about the hygienic requirements for food.

Food notice Importing Food (2020) – New Zealand Government: establishes requirements on safety of food for sale and it controls over parties importing food into New Zealand.
The Act requires that importers of food must be registered as a food importer.
It sets out the following two categories of imported food that may require written clearance for entry into New Zealand:

a) High Regulatory Interest Food (Schedule 1); and

b) Increased Regulatory Interest Food.

Food that is not specified in a Notice as being in one of the above categories does not require clearance. Categorising food in this manner provides a risk-based approach to monitoring imported food. When imported food is required to be tested, the testing must be completed by a laboratory approved for that purpose.

You can find the Food Notice Importing Food at the following link:

The Biosecurity Act: Establishes requirements and regulatory powers that affect how the department manages the bio-security risks associated with food imported into New Zealand. This Act is specific to pests and other unwanted microorganisms and provides guidance about the import health standards. These standards outline requirements to be met for the effective management of risks associated with importing unsafe food; including risks arising because importing the goods involves or might involve an incidentally imported new microorganism.

Additives, contaminants, antimicrobials and residues

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Provides guidance about additives, contaminants, antimicrobials and residues that are permitted to be added to food sold in New Zealand, their standards and their maximum levels.

Relevant sections of the Code:

Chapter 1 - Standard 1.3.1: Food additives
- Schedule 7: Food additive class names (for statement of ingredients)
- Schedule 8: Food additive names and code numbers (for statement of ingredients)
- Schedule 15: Substances that may be used as food additives
- Schedule 16: Types of substances that may be used as food additives

Chapter 1 – Part 1.4:  Contaminants and residues
- Schedule 19: Maximum levels of contaminants and natural toxicants
- Schedule 20: Maximum residue limits

Microbiological and organic criteria

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Provides guidance about the microbiological maximum limits.

Relevant sections of the Code:
Chapter 1 - Standard 1.6.1: Microbiological limits in food
Schedule 27: Microbiological limits for foods


The Food Act 2014: ensures that an effective recall can be undertaken quickly and effectively, it also provides seafood businesses with a level of transparency and integrity.
All seafood operators are required by this Act to identify and track products on at least a one step forward, one step back basis.

You can find the Food Act 2014 at the following link:

Regional Plan of Action against IUU fishing (RPOA-IUU): A ministerial initiative with the aim to promote responsible fishing practices and combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Southeast Asian region.

National Plan of Action against IUU fishing (NPOA-IUU): Provides an overview of impacts of IUU fishing on fisheries management arrangements. The plan outlines New Zealand's key domestic measures, initiatives and possible future actions to combat IUU fishing.

You can find all the Plans at the following link:

Labelling and packaging

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Includes general labelling and requirements that are relevant to all foods, and sets out which requirements apply in different situations (e.g. food for retail sale vs food for catering purposes). Chapter 2 also includes specific labelling and information requirements that apply to fishery products.

Relevant sections:
Chapter 1 - Part 1.2: Labelling and other information requirements
Chapter 2 - Standard 2.2.3: Fish and fish products

How do you find the most recent consolidated version of the regulations?

You can find at the following link the “Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code”:

For all New Zealand legislation please visit the following link, you can insert the name of the law/act/regulations under the box “Quick Search” in order to find them:

Last updated: 07/05/2020

Cover photo: unsplash Samuel Ferrara

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