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International Affairs Resources for New Zealand


Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC), which provides the labeling requirements for foods and beverages. Standard 2.7.1 of the Standards Code provides labeling requirements specifically in regards to alcoholic beverages and food containing alcohol. Standards 2.7.2, 2.7.3, 2.7.4, and 2.7.5 provide specific compositional requirements and related information for beer, fruit wine and vegetable wine, wine and wine product, and spirits; respectively. You may access these and the complete Food Standards Code at: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/code/Pages/default.aspx.

According to the Food Standards Code, information contained on a label must be written or set out legibly and prominently (i.e. in contrast to the background), and in the English language. If a language other than English is used in addition to the English language on a label, the information in that language must not “negate or contradict the information on the label in the English language” (see Standard 1.2.9 for Legibility Requirements).

Below are general requirements for alcoholic beverage labels:

  • Name of beverage type (i.e. wine, beer)
  • Name of product (i.e. ABC Beer)
  • Name and business address of the importer and/or manufacturer
  • Ingredient listing (only for products not standardized in Standards 2.7.2 to 2.7.5 of the Food Standards Code)
  • Declaration of alcohol by volume (alcohol content)
  • Net content - must appear on the front label and be a min. of 3.3mm high
  • Standard drink labeling (the approximate number of ‘standard’ drinks in a package – please see Standard 2.7.1 for more information)
  • Country of origin (a statement on the package that identifies where the food was made or produced, i.e. Product of U.S.A.)
  • Lot identification
  • Use-by date (if applicable)

Please note that an alcoholic beverage which contains more than 1.15 % alcohol by volume must not be represented as a ‘low alcohol’ beverage. Also, the label on a package of a beverage containing more than 0.5 % alcohol by volume must not include the words ‘non-intoxicating’ or similar terms.

Food containing alcohol must not be “represented in a form which expressly or by implication suggests that the product is a non-alcoholic confection or non-alcoholic beverage.”

Allergen Labeling for Wine:

Where there are added sulfites in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more, allergens labeling requirements are met by claiming ‘contains sulphites’ [please note the spelling], without necessarily having to name the actual sulfites used.

Also included should be any other prescribed allergenic substances contained in the product (i.e. egg, milk, fish, nuts, etc.)

GM (Genetically Modified) Food Labeling:

According to Standard 1.5.2 of the Food Standards Code, ‘genetically modified food’ is defined as food that “is, or contains as an ingredient, including a processing aid, a food produced using gene technology which –

(a) contains novel DNA and/or novel protein; or
(b) has altered characteristics;

but does not include –

(c) highly refined food, other than that with altered characteristics, where the effect of the refining process is to remove novel DNA and/or novel protein;
(d) a processing aid or food additive, except where novel DNA and/or novel protein from the processing aid or food additive remains present in the food to which it has been added;
(e) flavours present in the food in a concentration no more than 1g/kg; or
(f) a food, ingredient, or processing aid in which genetically modified food is unintentionally present in a quantity of no more than 10g/kg per ingredient.”

The label on a package of genetically modified food must include the statement ‘genetically modified’ in conjunction with the name of that food or ingredient or processing aid.

Please refer to Standard 1.5.2 of the Code for more information on labeling requirements for food produced using gene technology.

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Generally, imported wine only has to meet manufacturing standards under Standard 2.7.4 of the Food Standards Code. Standard 2.7.4 sets general definitions for wine and wine product and provides permissions for the addition of certain foods during the production of wine.

The U.S. and New Zealand are signatories to the Mutual Acceptance Agreement on Oenological Practices, which recognizes differences in countries’ winemaking practices. Through this Agreement, signatory countries (U.S., Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, and New Zealand) accept that wine made in another signatory country should be allowed to be sold in its market, despite the differences in oenological practices. The Agreement, however, does not apply to variances in labeling regulations; therefore, U.S. exporters are still required to verify their labels are in accordance with the New Zealand Food Standards Code and other regulations (refer to the Labeling Requirements section for more information).

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The following is a list of the documents that may requested by Customs in order for the imported product to be released. Please contact a Customs broker or the New Zealand Customs Service (refer to the Contacts section for specific contact information) for further details on these and other documents that may be required upon importation into New Zealand.

  • Import Entry form (submitted electronically)
  • Airway bill (AWB) or bill of lading
  • Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Insurance documents
  • Any other documents that are related to the shipment

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Importers are not required to obtain any import permits for the importation of alcohol beverage products.

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Imported food must comply with all aspects of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC) at the point of entry into New Zealand.  All goods imported into New Zealand must be cleared by Customs and importers are responsible for obtaining a formal Customs clearance for consignments of goods.

Assistance with the preparation of the Customs entry is available for first-time commercial importers. For subsequent shipments, importers are expected to complete the Customs documentation or use the services of a Customs broker or agent, or freight forwarder.

The New Zealand Customs Service provides an electronic import entry service that is available on applications to users, or may be completed on the Customs website.

Please visit the New Zealand Customs Service website on Customs requirements (http://www.customs.govt.nz/incommercial/Pages/default.aspx) for more information.

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For the most current tariffs and taxes applied to imported products for this country, please visit the Online Tariff Database provided by Tariffic.  Please ensure you have a 10-digit HS classification code in order to obtain tariff information. Also see the Census Bureau’s Schedule B search function ( https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html), which allows you to classify your product according to United States export codes. Simply click "Search" and enter the keyword (i.e. beer) that best describes your product.

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The amount of food that may be imported as trade samples (i.e. scientific or commercial evaluation) varies depending on the form of the food. Foods in liquid form (i.e. beverages) have a limit of up to 20 liters.

Generally, samples of products are subject to the same rates of customs duty and taxes as commercially imported goods, based on the origin and customs value of the goods. However, the New Zealand Customs Service collects duty and/or taxes only if the combined value exceeds NZ $50.

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The advertising of a product must align with labeling standards. Anything required on a label must also appear on the advertisement; anything prohibited on a label is also prohibited in an advertisement.

Words such as polyunsaturated, ‘pure’, ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘low alcohol’, ‘non alcoholic’, ‘health’ and ‘vitamin enriched,’ etc are restricted and any picture of the product should not provide a misleading impression of the product.

For further information, visit the FSANZ website at: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz.

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Office of Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Wellington
Mailing address:
Agricultural Attaché
American Embassy, Wellington
PSC 467, Box 1
FPO AP 96531-1034
Tel: (011-64-4) 462-6030
Fax: (011-64-4) 462-6016
Email: agwellington@usda.gov

Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF) of New Zealand
PO Box 34-149
North Shore City 1330
New Zealand
Tel: 649 419-0042
Fax: 649 419-0059
Email: cbaff@clear.net.nz
Web: https://www.cbaff.org.nz/

Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Level 6
108 The Terrace
Wellington, New Zealand
Tel: +64 4 473 9942
Fax: +64 4 473 9855
Email: info@foodstandards.govt.nz
Web: http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz

New Zealand Customs Service
Customs Overseas Office, Washington, D.C.
(Contact address same as that of NZ Embassy above)
Tel: 202-328-4848
Fax: 202-332-4309
Email: feedback@customs.govt.nz
Web: http://www.customs.govt.nz

New Zealand Embassy, Washington, D.C.
37 Observatory Circle, NW
Washington D.C. 20008
United States of America
Tel: (202) 328 4800
Fax: (202) 667 5227
Email: wshinfo@mfat.govt.nz
Web: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/north-america/united-states-of-america/new-zealand-embassy-washington/

New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA)
PO Box 2835
Wellington, New Zealand
Tel: +64 4 463 2500
Fax: +64 4 463 2501
Web: http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/index.htm

Inland Revenue New Zealand
Web: http://www.ird.govt.nz


The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the websites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports. Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.

TTB is not responsible for the content of external websites.

This page was last reviewed on August 17, 2010.

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Last updated: January 14, 2022