Lodging declarations and documentation for imported food
Customs brokers and importers that are lodging Full Import Declarations (FIDs) in the Department of Home Affairs' Integrated Cargo System (ICS) for consignments of imported food must also comply with requirements set by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
This includes submitting supporting documentation to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for assessment.
Declaring the producer of imported food
The producer must be declared for all imported food that is lodged in a FID. The producer is used to determine the appropriate rate of inspection for an imported food, based on the compliance of previous consignments referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.
The producer of an imported food is the commercial or individual’s premises or area in the country of origin where the goods were grown, caught, manufactured or processed. The producer may also be referred to as the manufacturer, processor, packer or establishment.
The producer of the food may be the same as the exporter/supplier. However, it is not a third party premises where finished food products are consolidated for export, such as a warehouse or freight forwarder.
More information about declaring the producer of imported food is available on the Declaring the producer of imported food webpage.
Use the form below to apply for a new producer to be created in the ICS:
- Application to add a new producer to the ICS PDF [308 KB] Interactive PDF form.
Lodging correct information in a Full Import Declaration (FID)
The department assesses the information lodged in a FID, the supporting commercial documentation and any government-to-government certification to ensure the correct rates of inspection and analysis are applied to each consignment.
When incorrect information is identified in a FID, the department will issue a Food Control Certificate to advise the customs broker or importer that an amendment must be made to the FID. The goods must remain on hold and the FID will not be processed or an inspection booked until the amended FID is received in the department's system.
Where the department identifies that a customs broker or importer is lodging incorrect information in a FID or answering the Imported Food Inspection Scheme Lodgement Questions incorrectly, this will be viewed as a noncompliance and the details will be recorded. The customs broker, importer and consignment details may also be referred to the department's Enforcement area for further action.
Note: Officers do not have access to amend any of the fields in a FID and will not manually adjust departmental records to accommodate or rectify incorrect information that has been lodged in a FID.
IFIS Community Protection (CP) profile questions
The department uses Imported Food Inspection Scheme (IFIS) CP profile questions to obtain more information about an imported consignment. Customs brokers and importers may be asked IFIS CP profile questions when lodging FIDs for consignments of imported food. The importer is responsible for providing the customs broker with sufficient information about the food, including a list of ingredients and percentages of those ingredients in a mixed or processed food, so that all IFIS CP profile questions can be answered correctly.
IFIS CP profile questions may relate to a whole imported food or the ingredients used in a mixed or processed imported food. Examples of how the department uses these questions are below:
An IFIS CP profile questions may relate to a whole food:
IFIS: ARE THE GOODS SESAME SEEDS?
Or an IFIS CP profile question may relate to certain ingredients in a mixed or processed food:
IFIS: DO THE GOODS CONTAIN MORE THAN 30% PEANUTS OR PEANUT PRODUCTS?
Supporting documentation for FIDs referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme
Commercial and government documentation is an important part of the clearance process for FIDs that are referred for biosecurity assessment, or to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme or both.
All documentation presented must comply with the Minimum Document Requirements Policy.
Customs brokers and importers that provide clear, complete and correct commercial and government documentation will reduce the time required to process each FID. The following details must be provided for each FID referred to the department:
importer contact phone
importer email address (where available)
location where the goods will be inspected
Linking lines in a FID to commercial documentation
A document such as an invoice, packing list or lot code list must be provided that links each line in the FID to each type of food on the commercial documentation.
If no document is provided, or the document provided is not sufficient for an officer to link each line in the FID to each type of food on the commercial documentation, the FID will not be processed at that time and the customs broker or importer must submit new or revised documents so this assessment can be done.
Lot Code list
A Lot Code list must be provided at the time of processing the FID and also presented to the officer at the time of inspection. The Lot Code list must be provided for each type of food (batch) in the FID. The Lot Code list is used to estimate the time required for an inspection and to determine the number of samples that will required for analytical testing.
Please refer to the following definitions for guidance on the information required on a Lot Code list:
Lot - Is a quantity of food of a particular kind prepared under the same general conditions, from a particular packing or preparation unit, during a particular period (usually indicating a 24-hour period of production). The way a lot is identified may be by marks or codes devised by the manufacturer. 'Use-by' or packing dates may satisfy this requirement when in day/month/year format.
Lot code list - A list of all lot codes within a consignment that identifies the number of cartons OR quantity per lot for each type of food (batch).
Eg: Lot 2004/07 – 100 cartons x 24 x 375g cans of tomatoes.
Laboratory Nomination Form
Analytical testing of imported food samples can only be performed by a laboratory that is an appointed analyst under Section 34 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. The first Food Control Certificate for the FID will advise if samples will be required for analytical testing. The customs broker or importer must nominate an appointed analyst on a Laboratory Nomination Form before contacting the department to book an inspection.
The department will issue a second Food Control Certificate for the FID once the appointed analyst has returned the Laboratory Nomination Form to the department and confirmed that they will conduct the analytical testing of the imported food samples.
An importer may have an ‘ongoing nomination’ with an appointed analyst. Where this arrangement is in place, an appointed analyst does not need to be nominated for future FIDs unless requested. An ongoing nomination must be accepted by the appointed analyst before it is accepted by the department. Separate ongoing nomination arrangements are to be made with each regional office that will conduct the inspection and sampling.
Imported Food Inspection Scheme (IFIS) Importer declarations
IFIS Importer declarations must be lodged by importers and brokers for some types of food that can be imported into Australia. The declarations have been introduced to improve how these foods are referred for inspection and analysis.
Foods where an IFIS Importer declaration may be required
- Cheese made from unpasteurised milk (Mandatory)
Enables importers to demonstrate that the cheese being imported is permitted because it has received a heat treatment during production.
RMC 07-2018 specifies the requirements to import raw milk cheese into Australia.
Note: This importer declaration is not required for Roquefort imported from France. Roquefort from France, is currently the only raw milk cheese permitted to be imported into Australia, provided it meets certification requirements.
- Cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes (Voluntary)
Enables importers to demonstrate that the cheese does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. Cheese lodged with this declaration will be analysed against the standard of no more than 100 colony forming units of Listeria monocytogenes per gram. Cheese lodged without this declaration will be treated as a cheese that supports the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and must not contain any detectable Listeria monocytogenes in five 25 gram samples.
CHE 07-2018 specifies the characteristics (parameters) of cheese that does not support growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
- Cooked crustaceans that do not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes (Voluntary)
Enables importers to provide information on why the cooked crustaceans do not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. Cooked crustaceans lodged with this declaration will be analysed against the standard of no more than 100 colony forming units of Listeria monocytogenes per gram. Cooked crustaceans lodged without this declaration will be treated as crustaceans that support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and must not contain any detectable Listeria monocytogenes in five 25 gram samples.
CRU 03-2019 specifies the kinds of cooked crustaceans in which the growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur.
- Ready-to-eat processed finfish that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes (Voluntary)
Enables importers to demonstrate that the finfish does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. RTE finfish lodged with this declaration will be analysed against the standard of no more than 100 colony forming units of Listeria monocytogenes per gram. RTE finfish lodged without this declaration will be treated as RTE finfish that supports the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and must not contain any detectable Listeria monocytogenes in five 25 gram samples.
FSH 07-2018 specifies the kinds of finfish in which the growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur.
How to complete an IFIS Importer declaration
The following requirements must be met for an IFIS Importer declaration to be considered complete:
- the declaration must meet the department’s Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy, except where exemptions are provided below.
- an accurate description of the food, including the commercial description of the food and name of establishment where the food was produced, must be provided. The food description must be specific to the particular food being imported, and should match the food description on the commercial invoice that accompanies the goods.
Note: For example, descriptions of food such as ‘various cheeses’ or ‘various establishments’ are not permitted. Where an accurate description has not been provided the declaration will be considered as incomplete and therefore invalid.
Completed IFIS Importer declarations are valid for one year from the date it is signed by the importer.
Giving false or misleading information in an importer declaration is a serious offence. The department expects that importers maintain records of the information used to complete an IFIS Importer declaration. The department may require importers to present this information upon request when conducting compliance or verification activities.
Exemptions from the Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy
The following exemptions from the Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy apply to IFIS importer declarations:
- IFIS Importer declarations do not require consignment-specific links
- IFIS Importer declarations have a prescribed format and cannot be provided on a company letterhead.
Note: Exemptions from the Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy will be included in the policy following its next review. The next policy review is anticipated to commence in mid-2019.
How to lodge an IFIS Importer declaration
The completed IFIS Importer declaration must be lodged with the related import documents in the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) when the importer or their agent declares they have completed an importer declaration.
It is the broker’s responsibility to lodge an IFIS Importer declaration for each consignment where it is to be considered. Where the declaration has not been submitted or is incomplete , the goods may not be permitted or may be subject to more stringent analytical testing.
To reduce processing time, it is recommended that cheese lodged without an importer declaration is lodged on a separate line to cheese being lodged with an importer declaration.
A Gruyère cheese made from unpasteurised milk that has undergone an appropriate high temperature curd cook is to be imported with a Taleggio cheese that supports the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
As the Gruyère cheese is made from unpasteurised milk, it is required to be accompanied by an IFIS Importer declaration, ‘Imported Food Inspection Scheme–Importer declaration for cheese made from unpasteurised milk’, to demonstrate that it does not require government certification as it has undergone an appropriate heat treatment step during production.
As the Taleggio cheese supports the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, it is not lodged with the IFIS Importer declaration, ‘Imported Food Inspection Scheme–Cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes’.
If the cheeses are lodged on the same line in a FID, the processing of the Taleggio cheese may be delayed as an officer will be required to inspect the IFIS Importer declaration for the Gruyère cheese.
If the Taleggio cheese was lodged on a separate line to the Gruyère cheese, then less time would be required for the officer to assess the cheese and process the entry.
Download an IFIS Importer declaration form
|Food type||Requirement for lodgement|
|Cheese made from unpasteurised milk PDF||Mandatory|
|Cheese that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes PDF||Voluntary|
|Cooked crustaceans that do not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes PDF||Voluntary|
|Ready-to-eat processed finfish that does not support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes PDF||Voluntary|