​​​Foreign government certification arrangements under the Imported Food Control Act 1992

​​​Under Section 18 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources can enter into a government-to-government certification arrangement with the national competent authority of a country exporting food to Australia. These arrangements provide further assurance that certain food imported to Australia complies with Australia’s food safety standards.

Scope of a foreign government certification arrangement

A foreign government certification arrangement is applicable to food that poses a medium to high risk to public health and safety and is classified as risk food under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme. An arrangement addresses requirements for public health and safety and compliance with Australia’s food standards only.

Use of a foreign government certificate in the clearance of food imported to Australia is voluntary for imports of seafood from Thailand and Canada, but is mandatory for imports of raw milk cheese (Roquefort only) from France and beef and beef products from all countries (including raw (chilled or frozen) beef and beef products from Japan).

An arrangement does not cover the biosecurity certification requirements for any food imported to Australia. Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for more information.

Certification requirements for raw (chilled or frozen) beef and beef products from Japan are provided on this webpage. Australia’s other food safety certification requirements for beef and beef products for human consumption can be found at BSE food safety requirements and biosecurity certification requirements for beef and beef products can be obtained from BICON.

Purpose of a foreign government certification arrangement

Consignments accompanied by a recognised foreign government certificate may be inspected and tested at a reduced rate, reducing the border clearance processes for the importer and exporter of the goods. Consignments that are not accompanied by a recognised foreign government certificate will be subject to the normal rates of inspection and testing applied to risk food under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Requirements for using a foreign government certificate

For some types of food, consignments accompanied by a recognised foreign government certificate may be inspected and tested at a reduced rate, reducing the border clearance processes for the importer and exporter of the goods.

To receive the reduced inspection rate, importers and brokers must provide the ICS document code specific to the foreign government certificate that accompanies the food when lodging a Full Import Declaration (FID). These codes are listed in the tables below, which outline the details of each certification arrangement.

Where there is evidence of non-compliance, the department will increase this inspection rate to 100 per cent until a satisfactory history of compliance has been demonstrated, which is usually taken to have occurred following five consecutive passes at inspection.

Consignments lodged without declaring the ICS document code specific to the foreign government certificate, will be subject to an initial inspection rate of 100%, reducing when a history of compliance is established.

Including a foreign government certificate in a Full Import Declaration (FID)

Customs brokers and importers should use the guidance below when lodging a FID in the ICS:

  • ensure that the correct document code and certificate number is lodged
  • only lodge a document code and certificate number for the arrangements below
  • only lodge a document code and certificate number for food included on a certificate
  • the description of the food must clearly reflect the description of the goods on the certificate

Mandatory foreign certification arrangements

Beef and beef products – Raw (chilled or frozen)

Japan

Certification requirements to import food under this arrangement are as follows:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Recognised certificate title:Export quarantine certificate for Beef from Japan to Australia
Mandatory declaration required on certificate:The meat is derived from cattle that have been born, raised and slaughtered in Japan and that passed ante-mortem inspection by an official veterinarian and post-mortem veterinarian inspection under official veterinary supervision. The meat is fit for human consumption.
While hygienically preparing product for Australia, establishments have conducted slaughter, preparation and storage of meat in accordance with Codex Alimentarius Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene CAC/RCP 1-1969, Rev.3 (1997).
The establishment where the cattle were slaughtered, and where the meat derived from these animals was prepared, processed and/or stored, has a HACCP based food safety program approved and supervised by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to control food safety risks, including risks associated with Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella spp.
ICS document code:BSECERTJPR

The border clearance criteria for raw (chilled or frozen) beef and beef products under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme are published on the Tests applied to risk food webpage.

Note: There are different BSE certification requirements for beef and beef products from Japan that are not raw (chilled or frozen). These requirements can be found in the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy food safety requirements for beef and beef products for human consumption webpage.

Raw milk cheese

France

Risk food covered by this arrangement:

  • Roquefort cheese

Certification requirements to import food under this arrangement are as follows:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation
Recognised certificate title:Sanitary Certificate to Export Roquefort from France to Australia
Additional requirement:The certificate must be accompanied by E. coli test results that are specific to Roquefort cheese in the consignment.
ICS document code:SCER

The border clearance criteria for raw milk cheese under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme are published on the department’s website.

Voluntary foreign certification arrangements

Seafood

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Canada

Risk food covered by this arrangement:

  • Histamine susceptible fish
  • Finfish – ready-to-eat processed finfish other than canned/retorted
  • Marinara mix (seafood mix)
  • Crustaceans – cooked (chilled or frozen)

Certification requirements to import food under this arrangement are as follows:

Certification requirementsRequirement details
National competent authority:Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Recognised certificate title:Certificate of Origin and Hygiene
ICS document code:CI

The border clearance criteria for these foods under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme are published on the department’s website.

Thailand

Risk food covered by this arrangement:

  • Histamine susceptible fish
  • Finfish – ready-to-eat processed finfish other than canned/retorted
  • Marinara mix (seafood mix)
  • Crustaceans – cooked (chilled or frozen)
  • Processed bivalve molluscs – processed other than by depuration /cleaning. Processing may include: cooking, pasteurising, heating, drying, marinating, smoking.

NOTE: Unprocessed or raw bivalve molluscs are excluded from this arrangement.

Certification requirements to import food under this arrangement are as follows:

Certification requirements

Requirement details

National competent authority:Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives – Department of Fisheries
Recognised certificate titles:
  • Health Certificate for fishery and aquaculture products originating in Thailand
  • Certificate for non-viable prawns and prawn products
Additional requirement:The certificate must identify that the food has been sourced from an establishment approved by the Department of Fisheries, Thailand.
ICS document code:DOFHCTH

The border clearance criteria for these foods under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme are published on the department’s website.

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