Histamine susceptible fish

​​Histamine susceptible fish

Fish of the family Scombridae, Coryphaenidae, Pomatomidae, Carangidae, Clupeidae, Engraulidae or Scomberesocidae

Back to Tests applied to risk food

Reference HIS 12/2016

All imported food must comply with Australia’s biosecurity import conditions.

Check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) to determine if the food you intend to import requires an import permit or a treatment or if it must meet any other conditions. All biosecurity requirements must be met before Imported Food Inspection Scheme requirements apply.

Imported Food Inspection Scheme risk food

Fish of the following kinds for human consumption are classified as risk food.

  • fish of the family Scombridae (for example, tuna, mackerel and bonito);
  • fish of the family Coryphaenidae (for example, mahi-mahi);
  • fish of the family Pomatomidae (for example, bluefish);
  • fish of the family Carangidae (for example, trevallies, jacks and pompanos);
  • fish of the family Clupeidae (for example, herrings, sardines);
  • fish of the family Engraulidae (for example, anchovy);
  • fish of the family Scomberesocidae (for example, king gars and saury);

Fish products containing more than 300 g/kg (30%) of all or any of the fish named above are also classified as risk food.

The fish may be whole, fillets or in portions. This includes fish or fish products that are:

  • raw (fresh, chilled or frozen)
  • processed (cooked, smoked, dried and pickled)
  • retorted —the final product is in a hermetically sealed (airtight) container and has been heat treated (retorted) within this container so that the final product is shelf stable (not requiring refrigeration).

Food excluded from this testing

  • food containing 300 g/kg (30%) or less of the fish named above; for example, TV dinner (such as tuna mornay) and frozen meals.

Risk food sampling

When goods are referred for inspection and testing, an authorised officer:

  • will take samples for each product type
  • will take five sample units per lot for analysis
  • will take samples from the lower forward portion of the fish loin when sampling whole fish.

​Samples taken from the fish loin are likely to provide the best information about histamine levels in the fish.

For more detail on sampling refer to Imported Food Notice 03-11 Food sampling under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Hazard testing

Table 1 shows risk food tests applied to imported histamine susceptible fish and permitted results.

Table 1 Hazard, test applied and permitted result

Test applied

Permitted result


HistamineMaximum level 200 mg/kg
Label and composition assessment Food Standards Code chapters 1 and 2
Visual assessment Imported Food Control Act 1992 section 3(2)(a)(vii) and 3(2)(b)

Test: Listeria monocytogenes may be an additional test. Refer to Ready-to-eat processed finfish

Version history


Amendment details

1/5/2014SCM 05/2014Replaces Imported Food Notice 09/12 Tests applied to risk category foods
21/12/2016HIS 12/2016Updates the webpage to reflect amendments to the Imported Food Control Order 2001 to classify more species of fish and fish products as risk foods.

HIS 12/2016

Update to the webpage to provide additional detail about the sampling of histamine susceptible fish and fish products.