Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy food safety requirements for imported beef and beef products for human consumption

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​All consignments of beef and beef products for human consumption imported into Australia must comply with the biosecurity and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) food safety requirements. This webpage outlines only the BSE food safety requirements for these products.

Australia’s biosecurity requirements for beef and beef products can be obtained from the Biosecurity import conditions system (BICON).

Under the Imported Food Control Act 1992, beef and beef products for human consumption are considered a risk food for the likely presence of BSE agent. The beef can only be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and BSE certificates negotiated and agreed between the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and competent authorities of the exporting country.

The food safety risks associated with BSE in imported beef and beef products are managed under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme at the border.

For more information about the BSE food safety risk assessment process, refer to the FSANZ BSE information webpage.

Definition of beef and beef products requiring food safety certification

Beef includes meat, bone and offal of cattle, buffalo and bison. It excludes milk, dairy products, gelatine and collagen derived from bovine skins and hides, edible bovine fats and bovine tallows included as a minor ingredient (less than 30%) of a processed product.

Beef product means food prepared from or containing beef.

Under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, bone derived gelatine and collagen (including sausage casings) are not targeted as risk food. These products can only be sourced from countries that have had their BSE food safety risk assessed and a satisfactory BSE risk status assigned by FSANZ. A compliant government certificate must accompany the import and be presented to the department upon request.

BSE certificates and information required under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme

Requirements for import declarations and documentation for entries of imported food can be found on the webpage Lodging declarations and documentations for imported food webpage.

All consignments of beef or beef products imported into Australia must be accompanied by a compliant BSE certificate. Where a consignment is referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, the importer must provide a BSE certificate compliant with:

BSE certification requirements for countries approved for trade in beef and beef products for human consumption

Only beef originating in the countries identified on the Foreign government certification arrangements under the Imported Food Control Act 1992 webpage is permitted into Australia in accordance with import permit requirements and the BSE certification requirements stated.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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