Here in New Zealand we have strict biosecurity laws and for good reason, they are there to protect our ecosystems and any new pests are certainly not welcome.
So, what food are you able bring into New Zealand and what do you need to look out for?
From my own travel experience and a few phone chats to the lovely people at MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries), here are things that you can usually bring in, but make sure you declare everything even if you think it is fine!
Spices. For those who travel to India, Sri Lanka and parts of SE Asia you are sure to come across spices that are superior in quality to those readily available at home. Generally speaking you can bring up to 1kg of spices for personal use. Whole spices are of more interest to Customs than ground and obviously they need to be dried and cannot have any dirt or leaf matter on them.
Kampot Pepper in Cambodia
Saffron in Spain
Nutmeg and cinnamon in Sri Lanka and India
Nuts. Nuts that are shelled and packaged are only a brief interest to customs and as long as you are not bringing in more than a few kilos then you should be fine.
Almonds in Sth Australia
Cashew Nuts in Sri Lanka
Pistachio nuts in Turkey
Walnuts in California
Hazelnuts in Spain and France
Vanilla Pods. Dried vanilla falls into the same category as spices and you are able to bring these in.
Vanilla while travelling in Niue,Tahiti and Tonga
Chocolate and Confectionery. As long as the food is shelf stable then you are fine. As with everything else listed here, make sure you declare it.
Tea and Coffee. If the tea and coffee and packaged and sealed and you are only bringing in enough for domestic use then there shouldn’t be a problem. Tea lovers s travelling through India and Sri Lanka can certainly bring a few packs home.
Cheese. It may come as some surprise that you are able to bring in up to 2kg of cheese from anywhere in the world for your own personal use.
It doesn’t matter if it pasteurised or not but make sure that it is wrapped in its packaging.
Dried peas and Legumes. These are usually required to be heat treated so that they are only useful for culinary purposes as opposed to sprouting and growing.
Check the packaging of the specific product before bringing it in. Chickpeas definitely need heat treatment. If in doubt you will run the risk of needing to pay Customs to heat treat the product or possibly discard it.
Canned food items. Most canned foods are permissible as long as they don’t weight more than a total of 2kg.
Take Note that fruit, vegetables, plant material, meat and fish are not able to be brought into New Zealand.
For more information look at Items to Declare