Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy food safety requirements for imported beef and beef products for human consumption

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​All consignments of beef and beef products for human consumption imported into Australia must comply with the biosecurity and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) food safety requirements. This webpage outlines only the BSE food safety requirements for these products.

Australia’s biosecurity requirements for beef and beef products can be obtained from the Biosecurity import conditions system (BICON).

Under the Imported Food Control Act 1992, beef and beef products for human consumption are considered a risk food for the likely presence of BSE agent. The beef can only be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and BSE certificates negotiated and agreed between the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and competent authorities of the exporting country.

The food safety risks associated with BSE in imported beef and beef products are managed under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme at the border.

For more information about the BSE food safety risk assessment process, refer to the FSANZ BSE information webpage.

Definition of beef and beef products requiring food safety certification

Beef includes meat, bone and offal of cattle, buffalo and bison. It excludes milk, dairy products, gelatine and collagen derived from bovine skins and hides, edible bovine fats and bovine tallows included as a minor ingredient (less than 30%) of a processed product.

Beef product means food prepared from or containing beef.

Under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, bone derived gelatine and collagen (including sausage casings) are not targeted as risk food. These products can only be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by FSANZ. A compliant government certificate must accompany the import and be presented to the department upon request.

BSE certificates and information required under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme

Requirements for import declarations and documentation for entries of imported food can be found on the webpage Lodging declarations and documentations for imported food webpage.

All consignments of beef or beef products imported into Australia must be accompanied by a compliant BSE certificate. Where a consignment is referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, the importer must provide a BSE certificate compliant with:


BSE certification requirements for countries approved for trade in beef and beef products for human consumption

Only beef originating in the countries identified here is permitted into Australia in accordance with import permit requirements and the BSE certification requirements stated.

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Argentina (category 1)

Argentina was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 26 June 2015. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASA, the Argentine National Agriculture and Food Health and Quality Service)
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Argentina and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Australia

Beef of Australian origin which is fit for human consumption may be imported into Australia either unchanged or as part of a product for human consumption, subject to meeting biosecurity and food safety requirements. In some cases an import permit may be required.

Where food containing Australian beef or beef products is to be imported, certification is required from the exporting country and must meet the following requirements:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
The certificate must state:
  • the country of origin for the beef or beef product is Australia.
  • the Australian government export certificate numbers relating to the product in the current consignment.

Brazil (category 1)

Brazil was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 26 March 2014. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministerio da Agricultura, Pecuaria e Abastecimento (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply)
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:All bovine derived material (other than dairy ingredients, gelatine and/or collagen derived from hides and skins) was sourced from animals born, raised and slaughtered in Brazil.
The products are fit for human consumption.

Chile (category 1)

Chile was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 8 January 2014. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will negotiate revised veterinary certificates to satisfy Australia’s biosecurity and BSE food safety requirements for eligible beef products.

Until revised certificates have been negotiated, the following BSE certificate requirements remain in effect.

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Servicio Agricola y Ganadero, Ministerio de Agricultura (Agricultural and Livestock Service, Ministry of Agriculture
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Chile.

Croatia (category 1)

Croatia was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 25 July 2016. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate
Mandatory declaration required on certificate (meat based flavours):The animals from which the meat was derived passed ante-mortem and post mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision and were found to be free of infectious disease. The meat is considered to be fit for human consumption.
The beef contained in this product was derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Croatia.

Mandatory declaration required on certificate (retorted products):The animals from which the retorted meat was derived passed ante-mortem and post mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision and were found to be free of infectious disease. The meat is considered to be fit for human consumption.
The beef and/or beef product are derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Croatia.

Japan (category 1)

Japan was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 4 September 2015. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Japan and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Note: There are different BSE certification requirements for raw (chilled or frozen) beef and beef products from Japan. These requirements can be found on the Foreign government certification webpage.

Latvia (category 1)

Latvia was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 26 March 2014. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministry of Agriculture – Food and Veterinary Service
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Latvia and that have passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Lithuania (category 1)

Lithuania was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 18 June 2013. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:State Food and Veterinary Service of the Republic of Lithuania
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Lithuania and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Mexico (category 1)

Mexico was assessed by FSANZ as a Category 1 as of 17 July 2014. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirements

Requirement details

National competent authority:Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganaderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentacion (Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock Production, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food)
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Mexico and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Netherlands (category 1)

The Netherlands was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 24 October 2012. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authorityNederlandse Voedsel –en Warenautoriteit (Netherlands Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority)
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:
  1. The beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in the Netherlands.
  2. The animals from which the meat was derived passed ante- and post- mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision and were found to be free from contagious or infectious disease.
  3. The beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

New Zealand (category 1)

Imports of beef or beef products from New Zealand must meet one of the three following certification options (NOTE: these arrangements are under review. The following arrangements remain in place until the review is completed):

Certification option 1: electronic certification (e-cert)

New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (NZ MPI) has the capability to issue electronic government certification that can be viewed by department officers.
Customs brokers can include the following document codes for the BSE certification issued by NZ MPI in the 'AQIS Documents Detail' field when lodging a FID in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS).

  • Beef meat AU100
  • Beef meat products AU100
  • Beef meat based flavours AU102
  • Edible animal casings AU103

Certification option 2: Establishments with NZ approved Food Control Plan or Risk Management Programme

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and NZ MPI have agreed on an annual certification arrangement for product sourced from establishments with an approved Food Control Plan (FCP) (formerly known as a Food Safety Programme) or Risk Management Programme (RMP). FCP or RMP establishments only use beef or beef products derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in New Zealand or Australia.

A list of FCP and RMP establishments is available on the NZ MPI website.

Upon request, the broker or importer must provide a manufacturer declaration for each consignment that confirms the product has been sourced from an establishment with an approved FCP or RMP. The manufacturer declaration must specify the establishment name, address and unique FCP or RMP identifier.

Certification option 3: Paper based, consignment specific certificate

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The products were derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in <insert COUNTRY>.

Sweden (category 1)

Sweden was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 12 July 2016. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Livsmedelsverket (National Food Agency of Sweden)
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Sweden and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

United States of America (category 1)

The United States of America (the USA) was assessed by FSANZ as a Category 1 as of 29 May 2015. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:United States Department of Agriculture
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born and raised in either the United States of America or Mexico, and slaughtered in the United States of America and passed antemortem and postmortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product(s) is considered fit for human consumption.

Vanuatu (category 1)

Vanuatu was assessed by FSANZ as Category 1 as of 24 October 2012. The certificate requirements are:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Department of Livestock and Quarantine Service
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The beef and/or beef product is derived from bovine animals that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Vanuatu and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection under official veterinary supervision. The beef or beef product is considered to be fit for human consumption.

Other countries not listed

Beef or beef products originating from any country not listed above are not permitted to be imported into Australia.

Exporting country is not the country of origin of the beef

Where the exporting country is not the country of origin of the beef or beef product, certification is required from the exporting country AND the country of origin.

Under these requirements, beef or beef products may be exported from countries which have not been assessed by FSANZ (as listed above) provided the beef originates from a country assessed and categorised by FSANZ.

Mandatory certification requirements

The certificates issued by the exporting country must:

  • make the relevant country category statement(s) depending on the country of origin categorisation
  • state the country of origin for the beef or beef product
  • state the certificate numbers of the country of origin’s export certificates relating to the product in the current consignment.

Conditions for certification

The following conditions apply:

  • if the mandatory declarations are not made on the certificate from the country of origin, the declarations may be made on the certificate from the exporting country or in an accompanying official and certified letterhead that clearly states the certificate number it relates to
  • certification from the country of origin must be provided and must be linked to the exporting country’s certification
  • the certificate from the country of origin may be an original or a copy certified by the exporting country’s national competent authority.

In some cases, the country of origin certification does not contain the relevant statements that Australia requires, however, provided the exporting country certification does - it will be accepted. This allowance is given as the country of origin would address the requirements of the country to which the goods were exported, not Australia’s requirements. Although the country of origin certification may not contain the relevant statements, it must still accompany the exporting country certification, as evidence of the origin of the product.

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