​​​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, with imports being restricted to beef originating in the countries identified on this webpage.

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.

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 – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

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

Find out more about Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy food safety requirements for beef and beef products for human consumption.

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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.
ICS document code:BSECERTARG

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTBRA

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTCHL

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTCRO

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTJPR

Note: There are different BSE certification requirements for raw (chilled or frozen) beef and beef products from Japan. These requirements can be found in the Beef and beef products – Raw (chilled or frozen) section of this 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.
ICS document code:BSECERTLVT

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTLTH

Mexico (category 1)

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

Certification requirementsRequirement 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.
ICS document code:BSECERTMEX

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTNTL

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTSWE

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTUSA

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.
ICS document code:BSECERTVNU

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.

Beef and beef products – Raw (chilled or frozen)

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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 Beef and beef products – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy section of this webpage.

Raw milk cheese

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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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