Steps to exporting

As a meat exporter you must comply with all New Zealand food safety standards, legislation, and regulations governing the meat industry. You also need to meet all the requirements of your destination country. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps

Step 1
What you need to know

An overview of exporting meat products from start to finish.

To export meat products successfully you need to know about:

  • registering as an exporter with MPI
  • all legislation relating to your type of business
  • the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and New Zealand food legislation, including labelling and packaging requirements
  • animal status declarations and the use of hormonal growth promotants
  • all the requirements of your destination country
  • operating under a risk management programme (RMP)
  • using E-cert, MPI’s online certification system, to apply for the required official assurances (export certificates) 
  • using MPI-approved security devices on packages, cartons, and containers
  • border clearance requirements
  • relevant fees and charges.

You may have to meet other requirements as well. These might be of a commercial nature, or requirements set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service. It will also pay to check with your importing agent in the destination country that you haven't overlooked any requirements.

Animal status declarations

If you send animals for processing, or move them between properties or to saleyards, you need to complete an animal status declaration (ASD).

Hormonal growth promotants

The use of hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) is strictly controlled in bovine animals (cattle). You cannot export meat from animals implanted with HGP to the European Union and some other countries where the use of HGP is banned.

Exporting beef to Australia under a food control plan

To export beef to Australia under a food control plan (FCP) you must:

  • be a registered exporter under the Animal Products Act 1999. (This applies to all operators that export animal products to other countries – with or without an export certificate)
  • apply to MPI for approval. Complete the FA3 application form and return it to MPI.

If you need to change your details after completing an FA3, use the FA4 form.

Information about exporting beef products is in this document:

To see a list of New Zealand Food Control Plan premises that are eligible to export beef products to Australia under an FCP, download:

Exporting organic products

If you're exporting organic meat products, you need to know about the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP). This programme is designed to make it easier to export organic products to specific countries.

Step 2
What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter

If you're exporting commercially, you must register with MPI or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.

If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email

Comply with New Zealand legislation and food standards

You need to meet labelling requirements and all relevant food standards and regulations, including the:

Find out the market access requirements for your destination country

As an exporter you're responsible for knowing and meeting the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs differ between countries and products, and set out requirements for all operators in your export chain – for example, processors, storage providers, and transporters.

Read the OMAR for your destination country thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all the requirements.

If your export destination has an OMAR, you will likely need an 'official assurance', also known as an export certificate, before you can send your product. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination country that your product meets the standards set out in the OMAR.

You need to register with MPI to read the meat OMARs, which are password-protected.  

More information

Other information you should check includes:

Guidance offered by FYIs can help you with exporting concerns or issues. (You may need your OMAR password to read some FYIs.)

OMAR notifications will give you the latest updates for your destination country.

Exporting to a country with no OMAR

If there is no OMAR for your export destination, work directly with your importing agent to find out about certification and any other requirements. If an import permit is required, the permit will outline the requirements. 

Note that if there is no OMAR, it could mean your product is prohibited from being sent to that country.

Find out if your premises need to be approved

Some countries require premises or harvest areas to be approved, or 'listed', before you can export your products. 'Listing' is a procedure agreed between governments for ensuring that a country's market access requirements are met and products are produced in premises approved to export to that country.

Your OMAR will tell you if you need to be listed, and the process to follow.

Operating under a risk management programme

To get an official assurance for exporting meat, the meat must be produced and processed under a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP). Other suppliers in your export chain – for example, farms, storage facilities, processors, and transporters – also need to operate under an RMP. RMPs help you manage hazards and ensure that your product is fit for purpose and meets legal requirements.

Information in the RMP will form part of your application for official assurance. If at any point the meat is processed, transported, or stored outside of an approved RMP, you can’t get an official assurance and your meat will lose its eligibility for export.

Develop and register your RMP
Verify your RMP

After developing and registering your programme, you must get it verified each year. MPI Verification Services verifies operators.

Apply for access to E-cert

Export applications are handled online through E-cert, the web application MPI uses to issue official assurances (export certificates) for animal products that are exported from New Zealand. E-cert tracks products from the time they're produced until they're exported. You must register before you can use the system.

E-cert is password protected, and new exporters need to apply for access.

Find out how to gain access to E-cert

Your registration should be finalised within a week, providing all supplied information is correct and payments have been made. If you have questions about E-cert, email

Request an export certificate through E-cert

Once you are a registered user of E-cert, you can access the password-protected website and apply for an official assurance for your consignment.

The information you enter about your meat products and the declarations you make will confirm that your product complies with requirements.

If you’re exporting another manufacturer's products, you may need their help to complete the E-cert applications.

Find out about security devices needed for your products

Meat products must be packed and labelled to ensure they're secure and the contents can be traced to the official assurances (export certificates) that apply to them. Security devices, which help protect the integrity of the products, have to be approved by MPI.

Check other requirements are being met

Make sure other operators in your supply chain, like transport companies, wharf operators, and storage providers are meeting their requirements.

Are you using wood packaging?

If you use wood packaging products – other than paper – for your export meat product, check that your wood packaging meets the phytosanitary requirements of the destination country. Most countries require you to treat your wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases.  

Step 3
Getting your export documentation

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

When MPI is satisfied that your meat products comply with all requirements and standards, we issue the official assurance (export certificate) through E-cert.

The official assurance can be provided for your consignment in various ways. Check the OMAR of your destination country and the Official Assurances Programme for more information.

When to alert MPI

As an exporter you have a legal responsibility to tell MPI within 24 hours if your meat products for export:

  • become unfit for their intended purpose
  • are refused entry by a foreign government
  • fail to meet relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
  • don't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost. 

Who to contact

Contact MPI if your products don't conform to our export requirements. You can either use the export non-conformance report to alert MPI about any problems, or use your own form – as long as your notification contains all the necessary information.

Download the export non-conformance report [PDF, 124 KB]

If you have questions about exporting meat products, email

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