Agencies move to stop unlawful exports of infant formula

Today the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) began action to stop unlawful exports of infant formula from New Zealand.

Under New Zealand law (Animal Products Act 1999) only registered exporters can export dairy material, including products such as infant formula.

If someone posts or ships infant formula from New Zealand without following the regulations for exporting dairy products then they are operating unlawfully and outside the regulated export supply chain.

MPI and Customs’ investigations have revealed substantial growth in the amount of unlawfully exported infant formula in the past year, primarily to China. The unlawful trade is estimated to be valued in excess of NZ$150 million and growing.

“We appreciate some people may not be aware they have been operating outside the law and we are taking steps to inform and educate during this process,” MPI Manager Food and Beverage Glen Neal says.

“This has nothing to do with the safety of New Zealand infant formula,” Mr Neal says. “In fact, New Zealand infant formula is highly regarded and sought after in our export markets.”

Letters have gone from MPI and Customs to wholesalers, freight forwarders, supermarkets and known exporters advising that action is being taken to stop this unlawful export trade.

“Our action is about protecting the confidence New Zealand’s international trading partners have in our system of standards for exports, and at the same time ensuring a level playing field applies for all exporters of animal products in New Zealand.

“MPI is talking to known exporters to give them the opportunity to either stop trading, or investigate ways to export infant formula through lawful pathways.”

Media contact: Josie Vidal, Ministry for Primary Industries, 029 894 0161 or the MPI media line, 029 894 0328
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