Exported goods and COVID-19

Advice on health

Latest updates on coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department of Health)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 advice for the public (World Health Organisation)

We have taken steps to ensure exported goods can still leave Australia while also protecting our staff. We may need to reassess our processes as we receive new information about the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You still need to follow all existing Australian laws and importing country requirements.

On this page

Temporary changes to importing country requirements

Our trading partners may want extra assurances for food and agricultural products as a result of the rapid and global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

These temporary requirements may be requested by importing country competent authorities and could include:

  • requests for additional assurances on export certificates
  • statements or evidence that products are not contaminated and are safe for human consumption.
  • Check the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) for any updates.

COVID-19 risks

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. There has been no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through food. This is supported by advice from:

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends good hygiene practices while handling and preparing food.

Food safety controls and standards

We’re confident Australia’s regulatory controls can manage any potential food safety issues. We have strict controls for producing meat, dairy, seafood, plant and egg products intended for export. These food products must be:

  • free from harmful levels of contaminants
  • suitable for human consumption.

All food products must still meet Australian domestic food safety legislation and standards. These are included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Only products that meet Australian and importing country requirements will be eligible for export.

Food exported from Australia is safe and not a source of risk from the virus.

We will not provide extra certification or tailored statements for individual product exports that refer to COVID-19.

Contact us

Email WebExports@awe.gov.au.

Export verification

Some exports need our certification before they can leave Australia. This can be a mandatory requirement.

To do this, we may need access to your premises to:

  • inspect the products
  • ensure exporters complete the required verification tasks and audit processes.

On-site interactions can be conducted by:

  • biosecurity officials
  • technical specialists
  • regulatory staff
  • veterinary officers
  • Approved Islamic Organisations

We must continue our on-site interactions and still need access to your premises.

Approved arrangements

We need continued access to your premises to ensure you are meeting the requirements of your approved arrangement.

If you deny us entry to inspect your premises, we will not be able to certify that you have meet your requirements.

Approved Islamic Organisations (AIOs)

AIOs certify that products meet their approved arrangement conditions and importing country requirements.

AIOs must comply with reasonable instructions that allow an establishment to comply with its work health and safety obligations. They can only enter your premises with your consent.

If you do not allow an AIO access to your premises, they will not be able to:

  • assess your establishment’s conformance with halal procedures
  • apply an official mark
  • issue a halal certificate.

Without this process, you will not be able to export your meat products as halal.

More information

Media statement: COVID-19 – Export Pathway – Arrangements and Response

Last reviewed: 27 March 2020
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