Steps to exporting
If you're planning to export dairy products, then you'll need to register as an exporter with MPI. It's also important that you comply with New Zealand's food safety standards, legislation, and regulations – and meet the requirements of your export destination country. We've created a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process. Read on to see what's involved.
Follow the steps
To export dairy products successfully you need to know about:
- registering as an exporter with MPI
- complying with all of the legislation relating to your type of business
- complying with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and New Zealand food legislation (unless exempted)
- making sure the products are manufactured and stored under a risk management programme (RMP)
- ensuring the products are transported under either an RMP or a regulated control scheme
- meeting the requirements of your destination country and be aware of quotas to some countries
- using approved security devices on shipping containers
- using E-cert, MPI's online certification system, to apply for the required official assurances (export certificates)
- other border clearance requirements.
You may have to meet other requirements as well. These requirements might be commercial, or set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service (NZ Customs). It will also pay to check with the importing agent in your destination country that you haven't overlooked any requirements.
Exporting only to Australia
Dairy products for Australia can be manufactured under a food control plan or RMP. Exporters also need to meet the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for Australia.
Exporting under the dairy quota programme
The Dominican Republic, the European Union, Japan, and the United States of America are part of the dairy quota programme. These countries (known as the designated markets) have quotas in place that govern how much of certain dairy products will receive beneficial export rates.
Register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter
If you're exporting commercially, you must register with MPI, or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.
Registration for sending non-commercial animal products overseas
Even if the purpose of your export is non-commercial, you may need to register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter unless specifically exempted.
If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email email@example.com
Sending infant formula overseas
You can't freight or post infant formula out of New Zealand. You must use a registered dairy exporter to do this.
Comply with New Zealand legislation and food standards
You need to meet all relevant food standards and regulations.
- Find out more about regulations and standards under the Food Act
- Browse dairy regulations and standards
For more information you should also refer to the:
- Animal Products Act 1999 on the NZ Legislation website
- Food Act 2014 on the NZ Legislation website
- Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code on the Food Standards website
Meet the requirements of your destination market
As an exporter you are responsible for knowing and meeting the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for your destination country. OMARs set out requirements for all operators in your export chain – for example, farms, manufacturers, storage facilities, and transporters.
If there's an OMAR for your export destination, you'll likely need an 'official assurance', also known as an export certificate, before you can send your product. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination country that your product meets New Zealand standards and the requirements set out in the OMAR. (Note that not all OMARs require an export certificate).
Read the OMAR thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements. You need to register with MPI to read dairy OMARs, which are password-protected.
Other information you should check includes:
Guidance offered by FYIs can help you with exporting concerns or issues. (You may need your OMAR password to read some FYIs.)
OMAR notifications will give you the latest updates for your destination country.
Some countries require your product and/or manufacturing premises to be registered. To apply for a dairy product registration certificate, or a dairy premises registration certificate, log into E-cert and select the appropriate export certificate template.
Note that Thailand has special and additional requirements for registration – refer to the Thailand OMAR and the Application for MPI certificate for food products to Thailand.
- Application for MPI certificate for food products to Thailand [DOCX, 72 KB]
- Apply for access to E-cert
Exporting to a country with no OMAR
If there's no OMAR for your export destination, work directly with your importing agent to find out what certification you need. You may choose to apply for a free sale certificate or a free sale statement.
Register a risk management programme (RMP) and get it verified
To export dairy products (other than to Australia), they must be produced and processed under a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP). Information in the RMP will form part of your application for official assurance. Other suppliers in your export chain, like storage facilities and processors, also need to operate under an RMP. However, transport operators can choose to operate under an RMP or under the regulated control scheme (RCS) for transport of animal products for export.
RMPs help you manage potential hazards, ensure your product is fit for purpose, and meet legal requirements. If at any point a dairy product is processed, transported, or stored outside of an approved RMP or RCS, you can’t get an official assurance and your product will lose its eligibility for export.
After developing your programme you must register it, and get it verified each year.
- Find out how to develop an RMP
- Find out how to get your programme registered
- Download the RMP manual
- Find out about RCS for transport operators
If you manufacture or supply dairy products for export, you will also need to register with an agency to have your RMP verified. The agencies are:
Get your products tested
You must get your products tested for contaminants and residues to ensure they meet required export standards – unless they have already been tested by the manufacturer.
Find out what security devices you need for your products
Dairy products must be packed and labelled to ensure they're secure and that the contents can be traced to the official assurances (export certificates) that apply to them.
Security devices help to protect the integrity of the products and have to be approved by MPI. Operator seals that meet the same standards as official MPI security seals can be used to seal containers of dairy products.
Export applications are handled online through E-cert, the web application MPI uses to issue official assurances and approve consignments for export. You must register before you can use the system.
E-cert tracks products from the time they're produced until they're exported. It is password-protected, and new exporters need to apply for access.
Registration should be finalised within a week, provided that all of the information supplied is correct and payments have been made. If you have any questions about registration, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Request an export certificate through E-cert
Once you are a registered user of E-cert, you can access the password-protected website and apply for an export certificate for your consignment.
The information you enter about your dairy products and the declarations you make will confirm that your product complies with requirements.
If you're exporting another manufacturer's products, you may need their help to complete the E-cert applications.
Complete documents to ensure product traceability
When products destined for export leave the manufacturing site an eligibility declaration/document must be raised in E-cert. Your verifier or the dairy certification unit can help with these.
Are you using wood packaging?
If you use wood packaging products other than paper for your export product, check that you meet the requirements of the OMAR or any other conditions of your destination country.
You're ready to export when you've:
- registered as an exporter with MPI
- registered with MPI to use E-cert
- made sure your products have been manufactured and stored under a risk management programme (RMP)
- ensured the products have been transported by freight operators working under an RMP or regulated control scheme
- met all the requirements of your destination country, as specified in the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR)
- got all relevant supporting documents (like import permits from your destination country and product test reports).
When those steps are completed you can request your official assurance (export certificate), if one is needed, through E-cert. You can either have the export certificate couriered to you or collect it in person from our offices.
If an export certificate isn't needed, you can go ahead and export your products.
When to alert MPI
As an exporter, there are instances in which you must notify MPI. You'll need to let us know - within 24 hours - if your dairy products:
- become unfit for their intended purpose
- are refused entry by a foreign government
- fail to meet relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
- don't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost.
You can either use the export non-conformance report, or use your own form – as long as your notification contains all of the necessary information.
Download the export non-conformance report [PDF, 124 KB]
Who to contact
If you need to contact MPI, email email@example.com
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