Review of the Imported Food Control Regulations

Under Australian law, all regulations ‘sunset’. This means they automatically cease to be law on a certain date unless a review finds the regulations are still required.

A review into the effectiveness of the regulations commenced in 2017. Consultation on the sunsetting changes to the Regulations closed on 28 February 2019.

The Regulations will be remade prior to their sunset date on 1 October 2019.

Purpose of the Regulations

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.

Changes to the Regulations

Sunsetting changes to the Regulations

These changes being made reflect best practice regulation and will enable the Scheme to be more flexible and responsive to changing trade in food. The changes include:

  • Permit the use of recognised quality assurance certificates for the importation of risk-classified foods that are identified in the Imported Food Control Order 2001. This is an alternative to mandatory foreign government certification requirements for those foods.
  • Amend weights and volumes of food for private consumption 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 enable:

  • The Minister to make orders requiring 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.
  • The Minister to make orders to 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.
  • The department to establish variable rates of inspection or inspection and analysis, for up to six months, where there is uncertainty about the safety of a particular food.

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

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

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.

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