Some foods classified as risk food to Australia, can be imported with a recognised foreign government certificate. The certificate is negotiated under a voluntary government certification arrangement.
Foreign governments can apply for a government certification arrangement..
Food covered by a recognised foreign government certificate in a voluntary arrangement assures us that food safety risks are being managed and consequently, is tested at a lower rate. This can reduce border clearance processes. If non-compliance is detected, inspection/ testing is increased.All biosecurity import conditions must be met before food safety requirements apply. Check our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).
Current certification arrangements
We have a voluntary arrangement with Canada and Thailand for certain seafood. If you have a certificate, it may reduce inspection and testing for:
- processed bivalve molluscs and bivalve mollusc products (Thailand only)
- cooked crustaceans
- histamine susceptible fish
- processed finfish ready to eat
How to apply
Countries must apply through their competent authority or official body. These are responsible for:
- setting regulatory food safety requirements, or
- organising and enforcing official controls.
Competent authorities can request more information. Email the Director, Imported Food section firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 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.
Lodging a foreign government certificate
You must declare your certificate when you lodge a Full Import Declaration (FID). This will reduce your inspection and testing rate.
When lodging a FID, use the correct document code and certificate number. Look at the relevant food requirements to find the document code. You’ll find the certificate number on your foreign government certificate.
The certificate must meet our minimum documentary and import declaration requirements.