Infant formula exports

Under New Zealand law (Animal Products Act 1999) only registered exporters can export dairy products (“dairy material” for the purposes of the Animal Products Act 1999). Infant formula is covered by this Act because it is a dairy product. The rules also apply to internet sales of infant formula.

The purpose of the Animal Products Act 1999 is to ensure that anyone involved in the production, processing, distribution and sale of animal products – including infant formula - understands their responsibilities to ensure product is fit for its intended purpose.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Customs Service have taken action to stop unlawful exports of infant formula from New Zealand to China, and potentially other markets. This action is about enforcing the law. No laws have been changed.

There is no need for these alternative export pathways as New Zealand’s legal exports are readily available in China and other markets.

MPI has developed this factsheet, which outlines the process for legally exporting infant formula to China. It is vital that anyone who exports infant formula does so fully consistent with the law, or stops trading.

Exports of infant formula to China - English version (PDF 17 KB)
Exports of infant formula to China - Simplified Chinese version (PDF 144 KB)

If you have any other questions related to unlawful exporting of infant formula to China, you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions here:

Questions and answers about unlawful exports of infant formula - English version (PDF 23 KB)
Questions and answers about unlawful exports of infant formula - Simplified Chinese version (PDF 261 KB)

MPI has issued a media release you can find here:
Agencies move to stop unlawful exports of infant formula
Agencies move to stop unlawful exports of infant formula - Simplified Chinese version (PDF 213 KB)

MPI has had a number of enquiries from travellers wanting to know what the rules are relating to personal consignments of infant formula accompanying them on their travels:

  • You do not need to be a registered exporter if the infant formula is in the luggage directly accompanying you on a flight and is solely for personal (e.g. for your infant) or non-commercial use.
  • The product must not be sold and should be part of your checked luggage or hand luggage
  • As with all other personal effects, you should be aware that any infant formula you may be carrying will also be subject to importing country’s customs and quarantine requirements.

If you are involved in dairy exports and are not a registered exporter or MPI registered Risk Management Programme RMP holder and have questions around how to become registered, you can contact MPI Approvals at approvals@mpi.govt.nz . If you are a registered exporter and have queries you can contact the MPI Dairy Certification Unit at dairy.certification@mpi.nz .

You can also phone MPI on 0800 693 721.

Infant formula manufacturers required to register with Chinese authorities

From 1 May 2014 all manufacturers of infant formula wishing to export to China, or produce products for export to China by another exporter, must be registered with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

Further information about this requirement is contained in the Market Access (OMARs/FYIs) section of the website.