Steps to importing fungi for growing
If you want to import edible fungi for growing – such as truffles and mushrooms – you need to meet biosecurity and phytosanitary requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.
Who to contact
If you have questions about importing fungi, email email@example.com.
Follow the steps
Types of fungi for growing
This import process covers:
- truffles (Tuber sp) for propagation
- mushroom spawn for propagation.
Importing related products
For processes to import related products refer to:
To import fungi to grow you need to know about:
- the fungi species you're importing and if it's approved for import
- the import health standard (IHS) for your type of fungi
- complying with the IHS requirements
- getting a phytosanitary certificate for truffles
- arranging fungi identification testing, if needed
- New Zealand Customs Service tariffs and permits
- using a customs broker
- relevant fees and charges.
More details are in Step 2 – What you need to do.
Check that your fungi species can be imported
Only certain species of edible fungi can be imported.
Truffle species approved for import
Approved truffle species are listed in part 2.1 of the import health standard (IHS). They are:
- Tuber aestivum Vittad (Burgundy/Summer truffle)
- Tuber borchii (bianchetto)
- Tuber magnatum (Italian white truffle)
- Tuber melanosporum (Périgord black truffle).
Note, powdered truffle inocula are not covered by this IHS. There is no IHS for these products.
Check Part 2.1 of the IHS for truffles [PDF, 545 KB]
Fungi and mushroom spawn species approved for import
Not all fungi and mushroom spawn species can be imported. Check the list of scientific names to find out if your species is approved.
|Scientific names of edible fungi species approved for import|
|Agaricus augustus||Flammulina velutipes||Pleurotus ostreatus*|
|Agaricus bisporus||Hypholoma sublateritium||Pleurotus pulmonarius|
|Agaricus bitorquis||Lactarius deliciosus||Stropharia rugosoannulata|
|Auricularia polytricha||Lentinula edodes||Trametes versicolor|
|Boletus edulis||Macrolepiota rachodes||Tremella fuciformis|
|Calvatia cyathiformis||Marasmius oreades||Tricholoma matsutake|
|Cantharellus cibarius||Morchella esculenta||Volvariella volvacea|
|Coprinus comatus||Morchella importuna|
|Dictyophora indusiata||Pleurotus djamor/Pleurotus opuntiae|
* Pleurotus ostreatus strains are allowed for import if they are identified as the same species as the type specimen of P. ostreatus ‘TENN 53662’ by molecular testing.
It is recommended that importers of Pleurotus ostreatus mushroom spawn should contact the MPI Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss the identity of species they intend to import prior to export from the country of origin.
Species not yet approved for import
If your fungi species is not approved for import, you can apply to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have it approved.
If EPA approves your application, you'll then need to ask MPI to develop an IHS for the species.
Check other agencies' import restrictions
Check with the New Zealand Customs Service whether:
- you can import the product without restriction
- the product will be subject to duties or tariffs
- a NZ Customs permit is needed.
Visit the NZ Customs website to:
Consider using a customs broker
A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.
Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.
Comply with IHS requirements for your species
Requirements for fungi imports include:
- an import permit
- a phytosanitary certificate (for truffles)
- a manufacturer's certificate for mushroom spawn or cultures
- a species identification test for truffles and for Pleurotus sp.
Book space for identification testing, if required
Tuber sp. and Pleurotus sp. must be tested at MPI's Plant Health and Environment Laboratory in Auckland on arrival to confirm they are approved for import.
To book identification testing, email the mycology and bacteriology team:
We recommend you contact the laboratory before applying for an import permit.
Apply for an import permit
An import permit is required for all truffles and mushroom spawn.
An importer questionnaire has to be completed for new import permits for mushroom spawn.
The application form for mushroom spawn also covers biological products, microorganisms and cell cultures.
- Application for Permit to Import for plant derived material, microorganisms associated with plants, soil or water [DOCX, 105 KB]
- Questionnaire to accompany an application to import mushroom spawn [DOCX, 197 KB]
Meet phytosanitary requirements, if required
All truffles (Tuber sp.) need a phytosanitary certificate.
To apply for a certificate you or your supplier should contact the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the country of origin. You'll find contact details on the International Plants Protection Convention (IPPC) website.
If you have questions about phytosanitary certificates, contact the export agent or your NPPO contact.
Get a manufacturer's certificate
If you're importing mushroom spawn or cultures, request a certificate from the supplier or manufacturer that verifies the purity of the spawn or culture.
For fungi spawn imported on logs or other substrate like straw or cereal grain, the manufacturer's certificate must state that the substrate:
- has been autoclaved under pressure at a minimum temperature of 100 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes
- has not been contaminated prior to or after inoculation.
Check packaging and labelling requirements
Correct packaging and labelling will help ensure that your consignment is quickly identified and processed by border clearance when it arrives in New Zealand.
The packaging must be clean and free from soil, pests, and other contaminants.
If you're transporting your fungi using growing media or packaging such as wood crates, there are extra requirements or restrictions to ensure there are no hidden pests or diseases. Refer to the import requirements for:
Meet extra requirements for truffles
All truffles must be:
- clearly labelled with the scientific name (genus and species)
- packed in clear, clean and new material.
If you're importing more than one truffle species at a time, each must be packaged separately.
Arrange transitional storage, if required
MPI approves transitional facilities to hold and manage imported goods that might pose a biosecurity risk. These goods may need to be inspected or treated at the transitional facility before they can be cleared by MPI.
You or your customs broker need to arrange for the transfer of your goods to a transitional facility, before they arrive in New Zealand.
Submit all required documentation
You or your customs broker need to make sure that all the necessary documentation is submitted to NZ Customs or MPI before your consignment arrives in New Zealand.
Documentation may include:
- a manufacturer's certificate
- a phytosanitary certificate
- an import permit
- a purchase invoice
- a bill of lading or air waybill.
Comply with on-arrival inspections
An MPI inspector will check your documentation and may inspect the consignment when it arrives in New Zealand, to make sure it complies with the IHS. The inspector checks that:
- the consignment is as described in the documentation
- correct labelling is used, if required
- the consignment and packaging are free of contaminants (detritus, soil, bacteria, disease, and pests).
The MPI quarantine inspector may issue a Biosecurity Authority Clearance Certificate (BACC) requiring:
- documentation be corrected
- the consignment be treated
- the consignment be moved to a transitional facility, to be held for inspection.
If your consignment does not comply
If contamination (such as live organisms) is found on your consignment, an MPI inspector will explain your options. Depending on the type of pest or disease found, you may:
- treat your product (for example, by fumigation)
- identify the organism (and treat it if it's a regulated pest)
- ship the product to another destination country
- destroy the product.
All treatments have to be done by an approved treatment provider at a transitional facility. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.
An MPI inspector will issue clearance
Check that you or your customs broker have complied with the conditions listed in the IHS for all pre-shipment, transit, and on-arrival tasks.
Your fungi for growing will be cleared for entry into New Zealand when you have had your products and documents inspected and given clearance by an MPI inspector.
If your goods do not comply with the IHS, they won't be cleared until you have complied, or have been given permission to make an 'equivalence import'.