IFN 13-17 - Tests applied to surveillance food

​Issued: 11 July 2017
Supersedes: Imported Food Notice 17/15


The purpose of this notice is to advise of amendments​ to the tests applied to surveillance food that come into effect for all entries lodged from 10 August 2017.

Summary of changes effective from 10 August 2017:

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has completed a review of the surveillance tests applied to the following imported food products;

  • finfish
  • cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and
  • coconut milk drinks.

Surveillance tests are randomly applied at a rate of 5 per cent of consignments.


Testing for the toxin histamine at the surveillance rate will cease following the reclassification in January 2017 of additional fish and fish products as risk food for histamine. For further information about histamine susceptible fish please refer to Imported Food Notice 21-16.

The screen for antimicrobial residue in farmed fish will be expanded to include testing for the quinolones, oxolinic acid and flumequine. Current testing for malachite green and fluoroquinolones will continue.

Government certification that the fish are ‘wild caught’ will no longer be required. Instead testing will be targeted to the following fish species known to be used in aquaculture production:

List of fish to be targeted for antimicrobial residue analysis
Family name Common nameGenus (scientific) name
Anguillidae Eel – European / Japanese/ AmericanAnguilla spp.
SynbrancidaeAsian swamp eelMonopterus spp.
Pangasiidae Basa (Catfish -giant/pangas/striped/shark)Pangasius spp.
AriidaeCatfish – numerous speciesArius spp.
Clariidae Mudfish / catfishClarias spp.
Ictaluridae Channel catfish / Black bullheadIctalurus spp.
Plotosidae Eel tailed catfishTandanus spp.
SiluridaeAmur / Japanese catfishSilurus spp.
Channidae Snakehead / MudfishChanna spp.
Cichlidae TilapiaOreochromis spp.
Sarotherodon spp.
Tilapia spp.
CyprinidaeCrucian carp
Catla / Indian carp
Carp – Mrigal / Mud
Grass carp
Carp - European / Common
Carp – Bighead / Silver
Rohu labeo / Orangefin labeo
Black carp
Carassius carassius
Catla spp.
Cirrhinus spp.
Ctenopharyngodon  idellus
Cyprinus carpio
Hypophthalmichthys spp.
Labeo spp.
Leuciscus spp.
Mylopharyngodon piceus
Latidae BarramundiLates calcarifer
Nile perchLates niloticus
Salmonidae Salmon – Atlantic / Sea / Danube / Pacific
Trout - various
Salmo salar
Salmo trutta
Oncorhychus spp.
Arctic charSalvelinus alpinus

Cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes

Surveillance cheese is identified as cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. The parameters for cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes are published here.

Testing for Listeria monocytogenes will replace the testing for E. coli. Analysis results will be assessed against standard 1.6.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for ready to eat food in which the growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur.

Cheese will be referred at the surveillance rate of 5 per cent. Compliance with standard 1.6.1 for Listeria monocytogenes will be determined where all five samples of cheese do not exceed 100 colony forming units per gram per lot of food.

Coconut milk drinks

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Standard 1.2.3 mandates the requirement for food labelling to declare the presence of specific allergens, including milk and milk products (dairy).

From September 2015 to March 2016, the department implemented testing for the presence of dairy in imported coconut milk drinks and coconut powders where dairy content was not declared on the label. This action was taken in response to multiple recalls and an investigation by state government authorities.

The department is reintroducing testing for undeclared dairy content in coconut milk drinks at the surveillance rate to monitor ongoing compliance with the requirement in standard 1.2.3 to declare milk on the labelling where it is present.

Importers are reminded that the presence of undeclared allergens poses a significant risk to human health. For more information about allergen labelling refer to Imported Food Notice 08-17 Mandatory allergen labelling.

Under section 8 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 it is an offence to import food into Australia if the importer knows, or ought reasonably to have known, that it poses a risk to human health. The offence carries a penalty of imprisonment for 10 years.

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