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February 3, 2023

Important Changes to Food Importing Rules

On 1st February 2023, New Zealand Food Safety published two new imported food notices, which will replace the current Food Notice: Importing Food.

These changes are important and apply to ALL registered food importers

As a registered food importer you have had the responsibility, since 2015, to:

  • Ensure a safety and suitability assessment is conducted, before the food is imported.
  • Ensure food is stored and transported in a safe and suitable manner.
  • Ensure records are kept to allow traceability.
  • Ensure a recall plan is in place should food become unsafe or unsuitable.

The new Food Notice has added more detail and clarity on how you must do this.

You may have to make some changes

You may need to make some changes to ensure you are meeting these new rules.

The new Food Notice: Requirements for Registered Importers and Imported Food for Sale has details on:

  • What a safety and suitability assessment must include.
  • How food must be stored and transported.
  • How records are to be kept.
  • What is an official certificate.
  • What must be on a manufacturer's declaration.
  • What documented evidence must include.
  • Updated rules for food safety clearance of bovine products.

You have 6 months to make changes, if you need to

Registered food importers have always had to conduct safety and suitability assessments and manage storage, transport, records and recalls. These requirements are listed in the Food Regulations 2015.

The new Food Notice: Requirements for Registered Importers and Imported Food for Sale now provides important clarity on how you must do this.

The new notice comes into effect on 1 August 2023, providing 6 months from publication for you to review the changes to the rules and make changes in your processes, if you need to.

More information

You can find the new Notices here:

Keep an eye on the MPI website, as they will be updating it to reflect the new rules as they come into effect. 

Some useful web pages:

If you have any questions on the new notice or requirements, you can contact New Zealand Food Safety at import.systems@mpi.govt.nz