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Find out about changes to food and beverage naming rules

Find out about changes to food and beverage naming rules

Some terms used to describe food, alcohol and other goods now have restrictions on their use. Find out what the changes mean for your business.

What’s changed?

From 1 May 2024, there are restrictions on using certain terms in trade for some specific food and beverages.

These restrictions are due to the New Zealand-European Union free trade agreement, which protects 1,975 terms – known as “geographical indications” - in New Zealand.

What is a geographical indication? 

A geographical indication (GI) is a type of intellectual property right. 

GIs are signs used on a product to show that it: 

  • comes from a specific territory, region or location, and 
  • has qualities, reputation or other characteristics that are essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

For example, the name “Champagne” identifies sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France and meets the requirements of the Champagne GI.

Protected terms used in New Zealand

Some of the protected terms are used in New Zealand to describe:

  • cheese
  • beverages such as beer, wine and spirits
  • processed meats
  • other goods.

They can no longer be used unless the products are authentically made in the relevant European region.

Examples of terms now protected as geographical indications include:

  • Ouzo, Sherry, Port and Prosecco for beverages
  • Feta and Gruyère for cheese
  • Prosciutto di Parma for processed meat.

If you have existing stock with geographical indications

If you had existing stock on 1 May 2024 that uses any of the terms now protected, you can continue to sell that stock without breaching the restrictions until your existing stock is all sold.

If you produce goods described with the geographical indications

A small number of key terms have a phase-out period for you to stop using these terms.

This is to give you time to update packaging and marketing material.

Full list of protected terms

You can find the full list of protected terms on the Geographical Indications Register on the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand website.

It also has all the information you need to follow the new rules.

European Union Geographical Indications and changes to legislation(external link) — Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand

Geographical Indications Register(external link) — Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand

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