Sending food or animal products overseas for personal use or as a gift

You can send many foods overseas but you have to be a registered exporter to send animal products out of New Zealand. This applies even if the item you’re sending is a gift or for personal use. Find out more.

The rules for sending food or animal products overseas

Sending food or animal products overseas by post or courier is different from taking it with you in your luggage when you leave New Zealand. Different rules apply. There are some things you can take with you when travelling overseas that you are not allowed to send overseas unless you meet export requirements.

Before sending food or animal products out of New Zealand (for example, by post, courier, or as freight on a ship or aircraft) you need to meet both:

  1. New Zealand’s requirements
  2. the destination country’s requirements

Note, some products are not allowed to be sent overseas under any circumstances.

Prohibited and restricted items

1. New Zealand’s requirements

Only registered exporters can send animal products (or food that contains primarily animal material) overseas. This requirement applies even if the item you are sending is a gift or for personal use. You can register as an exporter or use the services of an exporter who is already registered.

Examples of animal products include dairy products (including infant formula), honey and bee products, fish and seafood products, and dietary supplements derived from animal material.

Find out how to register as an exporter

Find an exporter who is already registered

Depending on the product you want to send and the country you are sending it to, there may be other requirements – like there is for honey and infant formula. And you still need to check the destination country’s rules.

Not all products require you to be a registered exporter

You don’t have to be registered as an animal products exporter to send:

  • foods that do not contain primarily animal material. This may include processed foods like biscuits, confectionery including chocolate, or beverages.
  • some manufactured animal products such as sheepskins or woollen clothing items.

Some products, like honey or infant formula, have extra rules

Extra rules apply to some products. For example, you cannot simply buy infant formula or honey in a shop in New Zealand and send it overseas (by post, courier, or as freight on a ship or aircraft). It doesn't matter if you’re sending it to your family or friends – the same rules apply.

Find out more about sending honey overseas

Find out more about sending infant formula overseas

Prohibited and restricted products

There are some animal products and items that can’t leave New Zealand or require an export permit. This applies to many types of coral, for example – even those you might pick up on a beach.

The New Zealand Customs website has more details.

Prohibited and restricted export items – New Zealand Customs

2. Your destination country’s requirements

Before sending food or animal products out of New Zealand, you also need to check the destination country’s rules. You can find your destination country’s rules in that country’s import requirements.

To find out what you can or can’t send to another country you should:

  • visit their appropriate government agency website, or
  • contact the country’s embassy or representative in New Zealand.

Overseas government websites and contacts

Australia: Bringing or mailing goods to Australia

USA: Sending food through international mail

United Kingdom: Personal food, plant and animal product imports

European Union: Personal imports

Contact details for foreign representatives to New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Sending food overseas for business reasons

If you’re sending food overseas for business or commercial reasons you need to meet New Zealand’s export requirements and the import requirements for the destination country. This includes online e-commerce retail and trade samples.

Exporting food

Who to contact

If you have questions about sending food or animal products overseas for personal use or as a gift, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Taking food or animal products overseas with you

Remember, the information on this web page is about sending food overseas. The rules are different if you are taking food or animal products with you in your luggage when you leave New Zealand.

Taking food or animal products overseas for personal use or as a gift

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