Selling plant products in New Zealand

If you grow, process or sell plant products as food in New Zealand, you must comply with the Food Act.


Meeting Food Act requirements

If you sell plant products for human consumption, whether grown in New Zealand or imported, you must meet the requirements of the Food Act 2014.

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act.

Maximum residue levels (MRLs)

All plant products sold as food in New Zealand (except for food imported from Australia) must comply with New Zealand’s MRLs for pesticides. These are established under Food Notice: Maximum Residue Levels for Agricultural Compounds to safeguard consumer health and to promote Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in the use of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other agricultural compounds.

Find out about the New Zealand requirements for residue limits for pesticides in plant products such as fruit, vegetables, or cereals:

Imported food

As well as complying with the Food Act, plant-based foods imported to New Zealand must comply with other regulations. Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA), food imported from Australia can be sold in New Zealand if it complies with Australian requirements.

Food imported from places other than Australia must comply with either the Codex MRLs or the MRLs listed in the Food Notice: Maximum Residue Levels for Agricultural Compounds. This includes the ‘default’ MRL of 0.1 mg/kg where no specific MRL is listed.

There may be other requirements that apply to the food product you're importing.

Using research and outbreak reports

MPI, together with other agencies, undertakes research and issues reports which help to improve the safety of plant products. The reports sometimes offer guidance that can help your business to use best food safety practices. MPI uses the reports to inform the development of new food safety standards.

The reports cover a wide range of topics that are of concern to the industry, including outbreaks of foodborne illness and the presence of contaminants in produce.

Keeping up to date

It’s important to keep up to date with any new or revised plant product information, including requirements, consultations, strategies and other content changes.

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