Steps to exporting
Poultry meat exporters must be registered and follow food standards and other regulations, as well as meet the requirements of their destination country. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.
Follow the steps
'Poultry' is all poultry and poultry products, including chicken, turkeys, ducks, pheasants, quail, guinea fowl, geese, partridges, pigeons, and other game birds. It excludes eggs and wild birds.
To export poultry meat successfully you need to know about:
- registering as an exporter with MPI
- all of the legislation relating to your type of business
- the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and New Zealand Food Standards, including labelling and packaging requirements
- all the requirements of your destination country
- risk management programmes or Food Act requirements
- registering for access to E-cert, MPI's online certification system, to apply for the required export certificates
- relevant fees and charges
- border clearance requirements.
In addition to this list, you may have to meet other requirements as well. These requirements might be commercial or set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service. It will also pay to check with the importing agent in your destination country to make sure you haven't overlooked any requirements.
Official Organic Assurance Programme
If you're exporting organic poultry meat products, you need to know about the Official Organic Assurance Programme (OOAP). This programme is designed to facilitate the exporting of organic products to specific markets.
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 email@example.com.
Non-commercial exporters don't usually have to register
If the purpose of your export is non-commercial, you don't have to register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter unless requested by your shipper (airline or shipping company).
Comply with New Zealand legislation and food standards
You need to meet labelling requirements and all relevant food standards and regulations.
- Refer to our full list of poultry meat export requirements, including Overseas Market Access Requirements
- Refer to the Animal Products Act 1999 on the NZ Legislation website
- Refer to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code on the Food Standards website
Note that the Food Act 2014 came into effect on 1 March 2016.
Check the requirements of your destination market
As an exporter, you're responsible for knowing and meeting the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs set out the requirements for all operators in your export chain (for example, farms, manufacturers, storage facilities, and transporters).
If there’s an OMAR for your export destination, you'll 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 poultry meat OMARs, which are password-protected.
- Download the official assurance specifications for animal material and animal products [PDF, 676 KB]
Search for the OMAR for your destination country, and read it thoroughly to make sure you can comply with all of the requirements.
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.
Find out if you need to be 'listed'
Some countries require you to be '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. You'll need a fully operational RMP to be listed, and to work with your verifier to meet listing requirements.
Exporting to a country with no OMAR?
If there's no OMAR for your export destination, work directly with your importing agent to find out what certification you need and any other requirements. Note that if there's no OMAR, it could mean that the intended product is prohibited from being sent to that country.
Operate under a risk management programme (RMP) if you need official assurance
To get an official assurance for exporting poultry meat, the meat must be produced and processed under a registered and verified risk management programme (RMP). Other suppliers in your export chain – like storage facilities, processors, and transporters – also need to operate under an approved programme. Information in the RMP will form part of your application for official assurance.
RMPs help you manage hazards, and ensure your poultry meat is fit for purpose and meets legal requirements. If at any point the poultry 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.
- Find out how to develop an RMP
- Find out how to get your RMP registered
- Find out more about RMPs for poultry processors
If you are a primary processor (who slaughters and dresses poultry) you must operate under a risk management programme (RMP) under the Animal Products Act 1999, regardless of whether your destination country needs an official assurance. You can find out more about RMPs in Step 2.
If you are a secondary processor (who processes poultry beyond slaughter and dressing) you may operate under 1 of the following:
- a risk management programme (you must choose this option if you export to countries that require official assurances) – refer to Step 2 or
- a food control plan under the Food Act 2014 (only choose this option if you export to countries that do not require official assurances).
Note: Existing businesses can continue to operate under a food control plan or the food hygiene regulations until their transition to a food control plan by 30 June 2018.
Some destinations that don't need official assurances require free sales certificates (FSC), or free sales advice statements (FSAS).
Refer to additional resources to help prepare an RMP
You can prepare an RMP by using the codes of practice developed by MPI and the industry.
After developing your programme, you must register it and get it verified each year.
Ensure storage requirements are met
Stand-alone operators who store poultry meat before it's exported must meet specific requirements, depending on the market. Poultry meat also has specific storage temperature requirements, which are detailed in the code of practice.
- Read more about requirements for stores (cold & dry)
- Refer to the code of practice to find out about temperature requirements
Ensure transport requirements are met
Use a recognised verifier to do verification
MPI Verification Services undertakes verification of operators. You need to work with them to ensure your poultry meat complies with all the requirements, and that you’re following your RMP.
Apply for access to E-cert
Export applications are handled online through E-cert, the web application MPI uses to issue government assurances and approve consignments for export. E-cert tracks products from the time they’re produced until they’re exported.
E-cert is password-protected, and new exporters need to apply for access.
Registration should be finalised within a week, provided all information supplied is correct and payments have been made. If you have any questions about registration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request an export certificate through E-cert
Once you're a registered user of E-cert, you can access the password-protected website and apply for an official assurance or export certificate for your consignment.
The information you enter about your poultry meat products and the declarations you make confirm that your product complies with requirements.
If you're exporting another manufacturer’s products, you may need their help to complete E-cert applications.
Are you using wood packaging?
If you use wood packaging products (other than paper) for your export product, check that you meet the OMAR requirements or any other conditions of your destination country.
When MPI is satisfied that your poultry products comply with all of the requirements and standards throughout the process, 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.
When to alert MPI
As an exporter you’re responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if your poultry meat for export:
- becomes unfit for its intended purpose
- is refused entry by a foreign government
- fails to meet relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
- doesn't have the required export documents – for example, if they have been removed or lost.
Who to contact
Use the export non-conformance report to alert MPI about any problems.
Download the export non-conformance report [PDF, 124 KB]
Alternatively, you can use your own form – so long as your notification contains all of the necessary information.
If you need to contact MPI about exporting poultry meat, email email@example.com.
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