Documented systems


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Exporting non-prescribed goods: documented systems​​​ PDF PDF Icon 4356 KB

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​​​The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has created this policy guideline to assist those wishing to produce or prepare non-prescribed food or non-food products in Australia for export.

This guideline defines the department’s expectations about the documented systems that must be in place at an export listed establishment producing non-prescribed goods.

Documented systems

Documented systems are typically manuals or procedural guides describing the systems in place to manage public and/or animal health during production of non-prescribed goods destined for export. A documented system should include the policies and procedures in place to ensure product traceability and integrity, and should demonstrate how the establishment complies with Australia’s laws, accepted standards and importing country requirements.

Key aspects a documented system should include:

  • sourcing, traceability and recall (what it is, where it has been, where it is going)
  • public and/or animal health (managing food safety, animal disease)
  • product processing specifications (raw material standards, time-temperature parameters)
  • labelling and packaging (appropriate packaging, dual language trade description)
  • importing country requirements (what they are, how they are kept up to date, how the product meets them)
  • government certification (controlled and accountable, true and correct information)
  • records management (appropriate records are maintained).

Some importing countries require that an establishment producing non-prescribed goods for export must be listed in the department’s Establishment Registration database. All export listed establishments must have a documented system in place (see Exporting non-prescribed goods: becoming export listed).

Establishments producing non-prescribed goods that are not required to be listed with the department should still have a documented system in place because it is industry best practice.

Evaluation of documented system

To be listed with the department and obtain an export establishment number, an establishment must have an approved documented system.

For the documented system to be approved, it will be formally assessed by a departmental officer or an independent third-party service provider approved by the department. This assessment will review the key aspects required in a documented system, as detailed in this guideline.

If the documented system is assessed off-site (that is, not at the establishment), a review of the procedures and practices being undertaken at the physical location of the establishment may be required.

This on-site review seeks to validate that the controls and procedures in the documented system are being implemented effectively and practiced routinely at the establishment.

Once the documented system has been formally approved, the manufacturing establishment can apply to become export listed. For more information see Exporting non-prescribed goods: becoming export listed.


All non-prescribed good establishments that are listed with the department are subject to ongoing audits of their documented system. Information about these audits can be found in Exporting non-prescribed goods: department audit policy.

Useful links

Australian Food & Grocery Council

Australian Hide Skin & Leather Exporters Association Inc

Australian Renderers Association Inc

Pet Food Industry Association of Australia Inc

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council

Export Documentation system (EXDOC)

Export legislation

Non-prescribed goods fees and charges

Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR)

Regional departmental office contact details


Non-Prescribed Goods Programme
Residues and Food Branch
Exports Division
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Phone: +61 2 6272 3630
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601
Email: NPG Programme