Pesticide Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for plant products

All plant products grown or imported for sale in NZ must comply with New Zealand's MRL Standards. Exported plant products must also meet trading partner MRLs.

Complying with MRLs

MRLs for pesticides are established in most countries to safeguard consumer health and to promote Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in the use of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other agricultural compounds. Before you can export food to many countries, you must comply with the MRLs they have set. This is a condition of market access.

Using the MPI pesticide MRL database

The MPI pesticide MRL database identifies the residue limits set by destination countries. You can search by three main aspects:

  • country
  • crop
  • pesticide.

Please note that MPI does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this database. You should also check the relevant national legislation before exporting your products. You can find links to the websites of many countries on the page, MRLs around the world, in the the left-hand menu.

Food grown and sold in New Zealand

If you grow or process plant products for sale in New Zealand, you must comply with the New Zealand Standards for MRLs in agricultural compounds.

The Standards:

  • list the MRLs for a range of agricultural compounds in food
  • specify a default residue limit of 0.1 mg/kg (or parts per million) for a food or compound that is not listed
  • identify compounds for which MRLs are not required
  • recognise Codex MRLs for imported food.

If you are importing food, you must comply with one of the following:

  • the New Zealand MRL Standards
  • Codex MRLs.

Codex MRLs are developed by member countries of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). On the website you can find Codex MRLs under the Official Standards menu or you can bookmark this page: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/pestres/data/index.html.

You can find links to the MRLs for many countries and Codex on the page, MRLs around the world, in the left-hand menu.

Importing from or exporting to Australia

Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA), if you import food from Australia you can sell it in New Zealand if it complies with Australian requirements. The converse is also true, so food exported from New Zealand to Australia is legal, so long as it complies with New Zealand requirements.

Importing plant products from Australia

If you import plant products from Australia, you must comply with any of the following:

  • the New Zealand MRL Standards
  • Standard 1.4.2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
  • Codex MRLs.

Exporting plant products to Australia

If you export plant products to Australia, you must comply with either:

  • the New Zealand MRL Standards
  • Standard 1.4.2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

You can find the Food Standards Code on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website in the Food Standards section on the left of the home page.