New Zealand - Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

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In New Zealand, they key legislation governing food regulation is the Food Act 1981 (as amended). The Food Act defines relevant terms, such as, food and sale; outlines prohibitions on sale (including unfit food); prohibits misleading labeling and advertising; provides powers of enforcement and offences; and, contains provisions to make regulations and food standards. A new law, replacing the Food Act 1981, is before Parliament. If passed into law, the Food Bill would replace the Food Act 1981 and introduce some fundamental changes to New Zealand's domestic food regulatory regime. The Food Bill aims to provide an efficient, effective and risk-based food regulatory regime that manages food safety and suitability issues, improves business certainty and minimizes compliance costs for business. ( Other important legislation and international agreements include:

  • The Joint Food Standards Treaty, which committed the Australian and New Zealand Governments to a joint food standards system;
  • The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act of 1997;
  • Animal Products Act 1999 and Animal Products Amendment Act 2002;
  • Wine Act 2003
  • The Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, which allows products made or imported into New Zealand that meet New Zealand‟s legal requirements, to also be sold in Australia and vice versa. (Some products are currently exempted from the agreement, including each country‟s high-risk food list.)
  • The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and World Trade Organization Agreements; and,
  • Codex Alimentarius, which is the international body for setting food standards.
Vinita Sharma