IAN 2020-12 - Update to the dairy category code review

Date of issue: 20 April 2020

Date of effect: Immediate

Reference Number: IAN 2020-12


  • Industry bodies, Dairy Export Consultative Committee
  • Registered export manufacturing establishments
  • Registered licensed exporters and EDI users
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources—Central and Regional offices


To notify registered export manufacturers, exporters and EDI users of recent updates to the dairy category codes used to identify specific products covered under dairy export certification.

Summary of key points

The department is currently reviewing all dairy category codes currently used in the export certification system (EXDOC). An updated list is now available on the department’s website.

As previously advised, phase one of this review has seen the removal of the term dairy-goods-by definition.

Phase two of this review will see the remaining dairy category codes either consolidated, removed or re-named. These changes will better represent the specific types of products used in the dairy industry and will provide greater clarity and consistency.

Phase one:

The department has completed a review of all establishments using dairy-goods-by definition (DBD) to obtain export certification for products not considered to be a prescribed dairy good under Australia’s export legislation.

From 1 March 2020, exporters are no longer able to use the DBD classification, which has now been replaced with product specific categories. Health certification for products formally classified as DBD will be restricted to specific products going to a specific market. For those non-prescribed goods where market access conditions don’t require “health certification” as a condition of entry a “certificate as to condition” will still be available through the non-prescribed goods team.  

To ensure certification is issued in accordance with export legislation and importing country requirements we have set up mandatory overseas country and operation codes in the departments electronic certification system (EXDOC) and registration database (ER). These specific codes have been allocated against the approved operations of the export registered establishment and reflect those specific importing countries which require health certification. These changes will mean that our electronic certification systems will automatically check the manufacturer is listed for a specific market against a specific product. The two codes (overseas country and operation) must match in our system before the exporter can raise any export documentation (export permit and health certificate).

For example: when exporting ice cream, a health certificate can only be obtained for the EU and Korea, and in this case the manufacturing establishment must be registered to produce ice-cream and ice-cream related products, and be listed for the relevant importing country. If this product is to be exported anywhere other than the EU and Korea, a certificate as to condition may be obtained through to the NPG Exports program.

Through ongoing discussion with industry, those establishments registered for producing DBD products have had additional registered operations added to their approved registration details. These details more accurately reflect the nature of the products being produced, (example producing ice cream, producing goat milk, etc.) and the countries they are approved to export to. Each of these establishments have been consulted and provided with updated certificates of registration, along with a cover letter further outlining the changes they will see.

Our expectation is that manufacturers continually engage with their exporters to ensure that the correct country based certification is applied for, which will ensure any delays or confusion is minimised.

Phase two:

Phase two of this review is underway, which will see a more streamlined and consolidated list of category codes. These codes will better represent the product being manufactured and exported, and ultimately reduce inconsistency and confusion. At this point in time a portion of category codes have been renamed and removed. These changes can be found in Attachment 1. Industry will be given adequate lead in time prior to this change to allow establishments to update any export systems, training and instructional material before the roll out of the new dairy category codes.

As previously advised the consolidation of category codes will coincide with the removal of manual product descriptions and see an increase in the use of automated clearance by individual companies. As with several other commodities, health certificate descriptions will be limited to those generated by the system, and likely to include quantity, category code and preservation method. As an example “100 cartons of chilled flavoured yoghurt” will be the default description with no ability to enter brands, specific flavours or unique statements about the product. These changes are being introduced to streamline the certification process, remove ambiguity and administrative delays, and provide for greater uniformity for market access clearance.

To ensure companies continue to have access to manual descriptions for their products, we are investigating the use of the additional product description field, which will likely print on the reverse side of the certificate. Further information about these changes will be communicated throughout the development and testing phase.


The Dairy, eggs and fish (DEF) program are currently reviewing all dairy category codes, which are currently used in the export certification system (EXDOC). The purpose of the review is to significantly reduce the administrative burden associated with the approval and maintenance of these codes, and to tighten the controls around their use, particularly in relation to country to country certification requirements.

These changes will standardise and simplify how products are described and remove ambiguity currently experienced by departmental staff and industry. The new category codes will be at a higher level and be linked to the Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Codes classification system (AHECCs). Some examples include soft cheese, fresh cheese, plain yoghurt and flavoured yoghurt etc.

A major change has seen the removal of all dairy-by-definition (DBD) category codes. These codes were initially introduced to satisfy an importing country requirement, however over time these codes have been used across all countries, regardless if certification is required or not. To combat the overuse of DBD certificates the department has introduced mandatory overseas country and operation codes for those companies that were previously listed and approved for products considered a DBD (e.g. Ice cream to the EU, non-bovine products formula to China, camel milk to Japan etc.). These changes will mean that our certification systems will automatically check that a manufacturer is listed for a specific market against a specific product code. The two codes (overseas country and operation) must match in our system before the exporter can raise any export documentation (export permit and health certificate).

The full list of dairy category codes has been confirmed and the department is now working with the Department of Home Affairs (Customs) to identify accurate AHECC codes. Once the AHECCs have been identified for each dairy category code it will be a matter of entering these into EXDOC and testing them through the database prior to putting them into production.

Download attachment 1

​Document Pages File size
​Renamed and removed dairy category codes as at 14 April 2020 PDF  3 34 KB

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

Further information

Contact Dairy Eggs Fish if you have any queries.

The information provided in this advice is current at the time of writing and is intended for use as guidance only and should not be taken as definitive or exhaustive. The Commonwealth endeavours to keep information current and accurate, however, it may be subject to change without notice. Exporters are encouraged to verify these details with their importers prior to undertaking production/exports. The Commonwealth will not accept liability for any loss resulting from reliance on information contained in this notice.

Last reviewed: 30 April 2020
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