MPI, which regulates the New Zealand food industry, today issued a notice under the Animal Products Act 1999 to "regulate the labelling of all infant formula products and formulated supplementary food for young children intended for export."
Only infant formula exports to Australia are exempt from the MPI standards.
Infant formula shipped from New Zealand to Australia must instead continue to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Under the MPI ruling, and in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the WHO Code), exported New Zealand infant formula must support the protecting and promotion of breastfeeding.
“Under the WHO Code countries have undertaken to require statements on infant formula products to indicate the superiority of breastfeeding or breast milk to infant and maternal health and that the product should only be used on the advice of an independent health worker," the MPI notice reads.
“The Notice requires these statements to be included on infant formula and follow-on formula.”
Exported infant formula products must also not feature "pictures of infants, pictures that idealise the use of infant formula, and the words ‘humanised’ or ‘maternalised’ or any word or words having the same or similar meaning.”
Labels must also include a list of ingredients, the product's nutritive value must be declared, and manufacturers must "identify whether the formula is derived from cow, goat or sheep milk”
The MPI standard also sets criteria for the use of the 'Made in New Zealand' claim.
Commenting, Scott Gallagher, deputy director general of regulation and assurance, MPI, said today's notice is "the first of a set."
“The standard has been developed as part of the infant formula market assurance programme announced by the Government in June 2013,” said Gallagher.
“It is the first of a set of technical regulatory changes that will be introduced progressively over the next six months to further strengthen our assurance system for exports of infant formula products.”
Exporter have until June 18 2016 to fully comply with the changes, said Gallagher.
"...but we expect that most exporters will already be making the necessary changes to labels, and of course must continue to meet importing country requirements," he added.
Click here to read the full document.