Some food must be imported with a recognised foreign government certificate. The certificate is negotiated under a mandatory government certification arrangement.
Foreign governments can apply for a government certification arrangement. These arrangements cover the export of certain foods classified as risk food to Australia.
Mandatory foreign government certification is needed to import:
- beef and beef products
Note: for beef and beef products, only countries with a satisfactory BSE risk status can apply. The BSE risk status is assessed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
- bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products
- human milk and human milk products
- raw beef and beef products
- raw milk cheese
This is required to provide assurance that the food safety risks are being managed.
How to apply
Countries wanting to export these foods into Australia must apply to do so.
Countries must apply through their competent government authority or official body. These are bodies responsible for:
- setting regulatory food safety requirements, or
- organising and enforcing official controls.
Competent authorities can request more information by emailing the Director, Imported Food section at: email@example.com.
We assess the country’s system for the production and processing of food covered by the application. It must provide equivalent food safety outcomes to Australia’s system. Our process aligns with Codex Alimentarius guidelines for assessing equivalence and negotiating certification.
It includes these steps:
- Initial discussions and application
- Equivalence assessment process
- Negotiation of arrangement and certificate.
Importers and overseas exporters
Only a competent authority can apply for a certification arrangement. Importers and overseas companies wanting to import/export foods that require a certification arrangement should contact the authority in the exporting country. The authority can apply to us for a government certification arrangement.
A country’s competent authority must provide information on:
- food safety laws and administrative systems that govern the safety of the food
- national competent authorities and their responsibilities
- government food safety controls and export conditions that manage the foodborne hazards associated with the food
- verification and enforcement of compliance with national standards, government controls and export conditions
- laboratory testing competency.
Countries must supply the valid government certificates, including any required attestations.
How to lodge a foreign government certificate
You must declare your certificate when you lodge a Full Import Declaration (FID).
When lodging a FID, use the correct document code and certificate number. Look at the relevant food requirements to find the document code. You will find the certificate number on your foreign government certificate.
The certificate must meet (and has been negotiated to ensure it meets) our minimum documentary and import declaration requirements.