Fact Sheet for Independent AAO Employers

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) is currently consulting with industry leaders to implement a policy enabling the full uptake of the Australian Government Authorised Officer (AAO) model across all export meat establishments. On 27 November 2020, the department begun direct engagement with impacted export establishments on this change. Policies on this website will be updated once this engagement process has concluded.

In brief, the forward policy will see the department no longer providing Food Safety Meat Assessors (FSMAs) where the function could otherwise be provided through the use of AAOs. Instead the department will only continue to provide a government veterinarian and a FSMA who will undertake the final disposition of product at each export meat establishment in accordance with market access requirements (e.g. USA).

Information herein reflects the current policy and will be updated once the new policy is finalised.

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What is the ‘Independent Employer of AAOs Accreditation Scheme’?

It is a scheme developed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to provide for the employment of Australian Government Authorised Officers (AAOs) by independent employment providers. Under the Scheme, agencies will supply AAOs to Australian export slaughter establishments to meet EU standards.

Why is the Department of Agriculture running the Scheme?

Many countries accept product prepared to the Australian Standards, however where there are additional requirements, the department will develop programs to facilitate trade to those markets.

The European Union requires that post-mortem inspections are performed by inspectors employed by a party other than the food business operation. Therefore to export product to that market, AAOs must be sourced from an Independent Employer.

Who can employ an AAO?

AAOs can be employed by an export registered abattoir or labour hire provider (e.g. independent AAO employer).

For the EU market, AAOs must be employed by an independent AAO employer approved by the department to supply AAOs.

How can you become an Independent employer of AAOs?

Approval is granted when the applicant’s company has been accredited against all the criteria. Companies must also be able to maintain this accreditation.

Can AAOs sourced from an Independent AAO Employer perform other tasks on the establishment?

An abattoir can use relief AAOs hired by the Independent AAO Employer to conduct other activities provided:

  1. the AAO is not nominated in a position of management and control of the establishment; and
  2. the primary function of the AAO is to perform meat inspection activities

Where can I find information about the Scheme?

Information on the application process for AAOs, including the application form and the Independent Employer of AAOs Accreditation Scheme is available on the department’s website.


To participate in this initiative visit the Independent Employer of AAOs Accreditation Scheme on the department’s website and download the Scheme information.

Departmental Contacts: AAO Coordinator, Meat Export Branch.

Email: aao@awe.gov.au
Telephone: 02 6272 3933

Last reviewed: 7 April 2021
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