When you export food-related products you may need an export certificate or official assurance certifying your consignment meets requirements.
Export certificates – what they are
Export certificates are documents which confirm the safety and suitability of food products being exported from New Zealand. Not all destination countries require them, but they can be helpful with border clearance. When food products are accompanied by an export certificate it means they meet all applicable New Zealand standards. For many countries, they are mandatory and it is important to check the market access requirements of destination markets to find out if one is required.
There are several different kinds of export certificates:
- Official assurances
- Free sale certificates (FSCs)
- Free sale advice statements (FSASs)
- Health or sanitary certificates
- Phytosanitary certificates
Some export certificates are official assurances. An official assurance is a government-to-government assurance confirming that your products meet New Zealand’s and the destination country’s requirements. Official assurances are only issued for countries where MPI has negotiated an agreement with the destination market as part of an official assurance programme.
You can find out which countries require official assurances under the page, Market access (OMARs/ FYIs) in the left hand menu.
Free sale certificates (FSCs)
FSCs are consignment-based documents provided to facilitate trade in markets that require consignment-based statements for food and food-related products.
Click on Free sale certificates in the left-hand menu to find out more.
Free sale advice statements (FSASs)
FSASs are registration documents used to facilitate trade in markets that require food products be registered. FSASs exclude wine and most animal products.
You can find out more about how to apply for these by clicking on Free sale certificates in the left-hand menu.
Health or sanitary certificates
Health or sanitary certificates are government to government certificates that include information about the product, its health status and the cosignor.
These certificates are a biosecurity requirement. You can find out more about this on the Exporting page of the MPI Biosecurity website.
What information is on an export certificate
The information on a certificate depends on the food product and the destination market. It may carry information such as:
- the country of origin of the product and its ingredients
- the heat treatment or other processes used when manufacturing the product
- the microbiological status of the product
- the product's health status – for example, whether or not a certain animal disease is present in New Zealand.
Who issues export certificates
Export certificates are mainly issued by MPI. On this website you can find out about certificates for food safety requirements. Export eligibility certificates for wine exports are done through the Wine Export Certification Service (WECS), which is managed by New Zealand Winegrowers. There is more information about this in the Wine section of this site.
Phytosanitary certificates and export certificates for live animals and germplasm are issued by MPI Biosecurity.
Exporting without an export certificate
Where MPI has negotiated export requirements with a country or market, then your products or consignments must be accompanied by an official assurance. If there is no such agreement, you can get a certificate that confirms your products comply with New Zealand standards. However, if you export your products to these countries, you do this at your own risk. MPI is unable to assist if your products are not accepted at the border.
Reporting export requirements to MPI
If you find that there are export requirements for these countries, you must inform MPI of the requirements. This is a duty of all exporters operating under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. You can find more information in Part 20 of the Official Assurances Programme.
Getting an export certificate
To obtain an export certificate, you must comply with relevant regulatory and administrative requirements. This may include meeting requirements for processing, storage and transport of the products to be exported, which are recorded through eligibility statements or declarations.
To show that you have met the requirements, you may need to complete eligibility statements or declarations. You can only request an export certificate once these eligibility documents indicate that your products meet the requirements of the destination country. The statements or declarations are reviewed and approved by a verifier recognised for this work each time the products are moved between registered premises. They also contain information that confirms which destination markets the products meet requirements for.
Electronic certification (E-cert)
To make exporting efficient and effective, some official assurances are issued using E-cert. This system is used for food safety and biosecurity certification and is available for animal products, dairy and phytosanitary certificates.
You can find out more by clicking on E-cert in the left-hand menu.