Bringing in food to sell

All food and food related products imported into New Zealand for sale here, must comply with New Zealand laws. This includes complying with New Zealand food labelling requirements.

Some imported foods considered high risk, are monitored because they are likely to contain pathogens or chemicals that need to be tested for, and minimised before they are allowed entry.

The Imported Food Programme (also known as the Imported Food Review) looks at controls and quality assurance systems in place overseas and assesses these to ensure they meet, or are equivalent to New Zealand’s food standards.

As well as food safety conditions, there are additional requirements from other government agencies to ensure food is not carrying risks to other sectors of the country. For example, Biosecurity New Zealand’s role is to protect New Zealand's economic, environmental, international trade and animal welfare responsibilities.

Importing specific foods (Food Safety website)

The high risk products we monitor


  • Soft and grated cheeses
  • Raw milk cheeses


  • smoked and/or vacuum packed
  • manufactured fish products (surimi and marinara mix)
  • histamine susceptible species
  • fish susceptible to mercury and microbiological spoilage


  • shrimps, prawns and their products
  • lobsters, crabs, bugs and their products


  • Coconut
  • Spices - pepper, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Peanuts and pistachio nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Bivalve molluscan shellfish
  • Meat products
  • Soy sauce
  • Bovine meat or bovine derived ingredients (including gelatine and tallow)
  • Tahini or crushed sesame seeds - or any products containing these
  • Hijiki Seaweed

High risk foods