The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) is a non-Treaty arrangement between the Australian (Commonwealth), state and territory governments of Australia and the Government of New Zealand, under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997. The TTMRA entered into force on 1 May 1998 and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research administers the TTMRA as it relates to goods, including food.
The key operating principle of the TTMRA is mutual recognition. Provided food produced or imported into one country meets that country's food standards, it may be legally sold in the other country. In practice, this means that most food exported to Australia from New Zealand is not assessed for compliance with Australian food standards, and vice versa.
Both countries share food standards and imported food control systems which are designed to protect public health and safety to a high level.
This means that under the TTMRA most risk category foods and all surveillance category foods from New Zealand are not subject to the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 (the Act).
Note that Australian biosecurity (quarantine) requirements still apply to food from New Zealand.
In order to be exempt from inspection under the provisions of the Act, food imported from New Zealand must comply with the TTMRA principles whereby the food:
- must be grown, harvested and produced in or imported into New Zealand
- must comply with New Zealand food laws, and
- must be labelled at the point of sale with the importers name and business address in Australia or New Zealand.
What food from New Zealand is subject to inspection and testing under the Act?
- beef and beef products (whether cooked or uncooked and whether or not chilled or frozen)
- cassava chips that are ready-to-eat
- pig meat that is cooked (whether or not chilled or frozen), but is not canned
- raw milk cheese, except where the milk or dairy products used to manufacture the cheese were processed in making the cheese, in accordance with the requirement of clause 2 of the Imported Food Control Order 2001.
- seaweed- brown only
- all foods which are trans-shipped through New Zealand (i.e. product is not 'cleared' for sale in New Zealand).
The webpages in 'Tests applied to risk food' identify the tests which will be applied to food subject to inspection and testing.
Note: Importers should seek their own legal advice with regard to determining compliance with TTMRA requirements.