Communications with trading partners regarding updates to export documentation and a change in appearance to bolt seals and tamper-indicative seals (2019-04)

Date of issue: 18 June 2019

Date of effect: Immediate

Reference Number: MAA2019-04


Industries – Industry bodies – Australian Food and Grocery Council
Licensed exporters
Department of Agriculture—Central and Regional offices


This notice provides notification that the Department of Agriculture will soon commence communicating with all trading partners to advise updates to export documentation and change in appearance to bolt seals and tamper-indicative seals.

Summary of key points

  • The department is replacing EXDOC with a new system called Next Export Documentation System (NEXDOC). NEXDOC will make Australia’s export documentation system more secure and responsive to changes in trade conditions. This includes being more responsive to any future changes negotiated by the department with an importing country.
  • Changes will be implemented in a staged approach to ensure there is minimal disruption to trade. Honey and processed foods will change to the new certificate template from 1 September 2019. In-edible animal products are planned to transition over the next two years.
  • The department will notify overseas competent authorities in advance of each stage of the update for each commodity.
  • Australia is removing the signature of the Chief Veterinary Officer from all electronically issued animal by-products health certificates. This will be replaced with a signature from a senior veterinary officer within the Department of Agriculture, or the signature of an authorised officer, depending on the certificate attestation(s).  These officers will have oversight of the export systems in alignment with the World Organisation for Animal Health (the OIE) and Codex Alimentarius guidance on certification arrangements.
  • In addition, where departmental security seals are required to be applied, the department will commence using new security seals for containers of food and plant products for export from 1 August 2019. This is due to a change in supplier.


  • The communication of these changes will involve: introductory letters to competent authorities; face-to-face meetings between Agriculture Counsellors and competent authorities; a website intended for overseas competent authorities with details around the changes; and further letters to competent authorities in advance of commencement of the new certificates for each commodity, providing more information on what to expect. In addition, we are seeking to utilise any government-to-government opportunities as they arise.
  • The department has developed a risk management plan to manage the risks to trade associated with these changes. Industry may also contribute to managing risks through informing their importers of these changes when the time comes, directing importers to the department’s website or emailing where questions are raised.
  • The changes do not affect the agreed attestations for market access or the department’s regulatory controls over exports.  

Further information

Contact Exports 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: 4 November 2019
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