International standards equivalence

MPI Food Science supports food exports from New Zealand by providing evidence that NZ food safety requirements are equivalent to those in destination markets.

One of the ways in which MPI facilitates exports of New Zealand food is by making agreements with destination countries about food safety requirements for exported foods. Destination markets set requirements which producers and manufacturers must meet if they export to that market. Sometimes these overseas market access requirements (OMARs) do take account of New Zealand’s production processes or food safety requirements. Before accepting overseas market access requirements (OMARs), MPI identifies and challenges any scientifically unjustified OMARs, especially if they would add unnecessary production, processing and compliance costs to industry.

The MPI Food Safety Science Group contributes to this process by:

  • carrying our scientific projects to demonstrate that proposed OMARs are equivalent to New Zealand’s standards and systems.
  • preparing equivalence submissions for negotiations with competent authorities in destination markets
  • ensuring a risk-based, outcome-focused approach to OMARs
  • providing scientific and technical input to bilateral and multilateral agreements, such as the European Veterinary Agreement
  • accessing and leveraging scientific and risk assessment knowledge through participation in international working groups and expert panels, which raises New Zealand’s scientific profile
  • building and maintaining strategic alliances through joint involvement, such as the alliance that New Zealand has with Australia, the United States and Canada in the Quadrilateral Group (Quads).

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