Review of the Imported Food Control Regulations

​Share your ideas

You can now provide feedback on our draft Imported Food Control Regulations.

Consultation is open until 28 February 2019.

Have your say now

Food imported to Australia is regulated under law. This includes:

  • Imported Food Control Act 1992
  • Imported Food Control Regulations 1993 (made under the Act).

Under Australian law, all regulations ‘sunset’. This means they automatically cease to be law on a certain date. The Regulations will sunset on 1 October 2019.

We are developing new Imported Food Control Regulations so they continue to be law.

Purpose of the Regulations

Currently the Imported Food Control Regulations:

  • establish and set out the operation of the Imported Food Inspection Scheme (Scheme)
  • enable classification of imported foods and determine the inspection or inspection and analysis rates of foods under the Scheme, by the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
  • set out provisions for
    • application of food control certificates
    • defining when a food is a failing food
    • chargeable service fees for assessing imported food at the border.

Have your say

Our proposed changes to the Regulations will:

  • improve regulatory efficiency and better manage risk
  • reflect the changes as a result of the Imported Food Control Amendment Act 2018.

We have already consulted stakeholders on changes based on the Imported Food Control Amendment Act.

You can now provide feedback on changes to improve regulatory efficiency.

This consultation will close on 28 February 2019.

Changes to the Regulations

Sunsetting changes to the Regulations

We are remaking the Regulations to simplify the administration of the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

These changes reflect best practice regulation, and will enable the Scheme to be more flexible and responsive to changing trade in food.

Changes in the draft Regulations:

  • Permit the use of recognised quality assurance certificates for the importation of some risk-classified foods. This is an alternative to mandatory foreign government certification requirements.
  • Amend weights and volumes of food for private consumption (exempt from the Scheme) to 1kg in weight or 1L in volume.
  • Amend the allowance of prohibited plants and fungi for private consumption to 0kg, to manage risks to human health.
  • Amend the inspection rate applied when food inspected at the reduced rate of 5% is identified as a failing food, the inspection rate returns to the tightened rate of 100%.
  • Formalise the power of authorised officers to request information about a food so that the food can be correctly inspected or inspected and analysed under the Scheme.

Reflecting the Imported Food Control Amendment Act

The Imported Food Control Amendment Act 2018 amended the Imported Food Control Act 1992.

Under the amended law, we can better manage imported food safety risks and meet international trading obligations.

The draft Regulations reflect the changes in the law, and will allow us to:

  • Require importers to provide a food safety management certificate, showing that producers have certified food safety controls to manage safety hazards (for certain foods). We will consult with industry before imposing this requirement.
  • Establish variable rates of inspection or inspection and analysis, where there is uncertainty about the safety of a particular food.
  • Reduce the inspection rate for food imported from a country that has a food safety regulatory system recognised as equivalent to Australia’s food safety system.

Read more about the Imported Food Control Amendment Act.

2017 Regulation review

In 2017, we established a panel to:

  • review the regulations
  • oversee the public consultation process
  • report the results of this work to us.

The panel included representatives of Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the department. We thank everyone who provided information during this process.

You can now read the final report and original consultation document.

Download the final report

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2017

DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Final report of the review of the Imported Food Control Regulations 16PDF324 KB
Final report of the review of the Imported Food Control Regulations 16Word672 KB

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Download the consultation document

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2017

DocumentPagesFile typeFile size
Proposals for changes to imported food regulations22PDF967 KB
Proposals for changes to imported food regulations22Word680 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.